The history of this dish is not well documented, and various sources make controversial claims about its origin. One of these sources claims that Chicken Kiev was actually created by a French chef, Nicolas Francois Appert, in the early 1800s Since the 18th century Russian chefs have adopted many techniques of French haute cuisine and combined them with the local culinary tradition. The adoption was furthered by the French chefs, such as Marie-Antoine Carême and Urbain Dubois, who were hired by Russian gentry. In particular the use of quality meat cuts, such as various cutlets, steaks, escalopes and suprêmes became widespread in the 19th century, and a number of original dishes involving such components were developed in Russia at that time.
The recipe in the classical Russian cookery textbook The Practical Fundamentals of the Cookery Art by Pelageya Alexandrova-Ignatieva includes a complex stuffing similar to quenelle (a mixture of minced meat, in this case the rest meat of chicken, and cream) but with butter added. .
The main difference between the old time côtelette de volaille and the modern chicken cutlet Kiev-style is that the elaborate stuffings of the former are replaced by butter. The use of butter for chicken cutlets has been known in Russian cuisine at least since the invention of the Pozharsky cutlet in the first half of the 19th century. The Pozharsky cutlets are breaded ground chicken patties for which butter is added to minced meat. This results in an especially juicy and tender consistency. The dish was a widely appraised invention of 19th-century Russian cuisine, which was also adopted by French haute cuisine and subsequently by the international cuisine. While the roots of chicken Kiev can thus be traced back to French haute cuisine and Russian cookery of the 19th century, the origin of the particular recipe known today as Chicken Kiev remains disputed.
Chicken Kiev became particularly popular in the Ukraine and is today widely accepted as a traditional Ukrainian dish. However, in terms of certain sources, Chicken Kiev did not get its name from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Russian chefs tried to imitate Chef Appert’s entree and called their dish “cotelettes de volaille” But early restaurants of the U.S. in New York City weren’t pleased with the change instead called it Chicken Kiev, in an attempt to attract the new Russian immigrants to the U.S. The name stuck. Chicken Kiev became a classic dish by the 1900s and it was served in Russian themed restaurants both in Europe and the United States, and as well as in Russia. In Ukraine, it is served with fried julienne potatoes and a side of a green vegetables, usually fresh peas. Fried julienne potatoes in the U.S., of course, are now called French Fries.
4-6 skinless/boneless chicken halved breast
2 eggs – beaten
2 Tbsp milk
1 ½ cup flour
1 cup plain (or herb seasoned) breadcrumbs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
6 – 8 Tbsp Butter – room temperature
⅛ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely chopped green onions (or chives)
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper (optional)
In a medium bowl mix together the softened, room temperature butter with the herbs, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to flavor.
Shape the now seasoned butter into a log about ¾” thick
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge or freezer (preferred) for a few hrs.
Pat dry the chicken
Remove any tenderloin or small pieces of chicken hanging
Place one of the chicken breast between 2 sheets of strong plastic wrap or inside an open zipper freezer-style bag.
Pound each chicken breast as thin as you can get it – about ⅛” thick but not thinner or it may tear
Sprinkle the side of the chicken which will become the inside with salt and pepper to flavor
Allow chicken to “rest” as you prepare the other breasts
Cover with plastic wrap to protect from contamination and place in the fridge to chill while butter is also hardening.
When butter is chilled enough or near fully frozen and chicken is again chilled as well, remove both from the fridge and begin to separate the pounded chicken from the layers.
Cut the seasoned butter log into 4 to 6 pieces as per how many chicken breasts being used.
Place the “top” or smooth side of the breast face-down and the bottom of the breast facing up.
Place one of the slices of butter into the center of the breast
Fold the left and right sides of the breast over the butter.
Fold a third shorter side of the chicken breast over the other two ends. the roll up the rest of the breast covering the other three sides.
Secure the rolled up breasts with toothpicks and immediately place back in the fridge (covered) as you prepare the next setup.
Set up 3 separate bowls (I use plastic deep storage containers which have lids); 1st with the flour, 2nd with the beaten eggs with the milk and 3rd for the breadcrumbs. Cover and set aside for now.
After the three bowls or containers are set up, you can begin heating your oil in a deep frying pan if this is the method you prefer or if you have a deep fryer to 350°F.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove the cooled rolled chicken from fridge.
While the oil is heating and using separate tongs or serving forks with each ‘station’, place one rolled chicken breast at a time into the flour coating all sides, shake off excess.
Dip into the egg and using a separate serving fork or tongs, again coating each side and allow excess to drip off.
Dip the flour and egg coated breast now into the combined breadcrumbs and coat all sides of the rolled breast. Pat the crumbs firmly to the chicken by hand to be sure they adhere.
Shake off any excess and place on a clean and dry plate to rest as you complete the process with the remaining rolled chicken breasts.
Place one chicken at a time into the hot oil (350°F – no cooler than 325°F during cooking) and allow to cook to a deep golden tan color for about 4-5 mins if deep frying or 4 min. per side if pan frying.
After removing each rolled breasts from the oil place on a wire cooking rack which is placed in a baking pan with a minimum of ½” sides
Place the tray with chicken on a wire rack into a 350°F preheated oven for about 18-30 min. depending on the size and rolled thickness of the chicken breasts.
Chicken should be thinner on the edges to help with sealing the chicken and prevent butter from oozing out when cooking.
If you have a tear in the chicken breasts, use a thinly pounded tenderloin which you removed earlier to use as a patch before rolling.
The initial temperature of the oil should be a MINIMUM of 350°F since the temperature tends to drop after you put each chicken in. You should have enough oil to cover the chicken at least half-way (1½ to 2 inches) and be sure to allow the oil temperature to return to 350°F before cooking each remaining breasts.
Be careful when cutting the breasts when served. The hot butter inside might spurt out as the knife pierces the meat.
Serve with sides of potatoes and green vegetables.
Adapted from Originally by Chef Nicolas Francois Appert
Source text: https://slaviccooking.com/chicken-kiev/
Source Picture: https://www.lenards.com.au/product/chicken-kiev/