I’ve found that most foods that have filling intimidate people. (“How do they get the jelly in the doughnut?!”) Then, what inevitably happens is that making it at home once is enough to dissipate all of the mystery. It rarely turns out to be as difficult as we imagined it might be.
Chicken kiev is a perfect example. My family always enjoyed it as a restaurant treat, but it turns out to be pretty easy to make at home. Plus, you can customize your filling. We actually thought this one was a little too buttery, and we decided that next time we’ll change it up by using cheese filling instead.
Once you mix up the butter filling, you divide it into four equal portions, plop it on some wax paper, and freeze it while you prepare the chicken breasts.
Don’t look too hard at my chicken breasts, because I managed to move right past tenderizing and pulverize them. But, in my defense, you do want them to be nice and thin so that you can wrap them around the butter filling and close it up tight.
Then you just wrap them up and stick a toothpick through them to bind it all together.
Then you roll the chicken breasts in–what else?–melted butter and cover them in a mixture of spices and crackers to prepare them for baking.
If you make this during the summer (as I did more than a month ago, since which point the recipe’s just been sitting around waiting to be written about), you can bake it to perfection and pair it with a beautiful piece of summer corn and some Spanish garlic rice. Looking back at these photos quickly reminds me that summer is already on its way out… what I wouldn’t give for a few more weeks of perfect sweet corn! Thankfully, I’m doing well with the transition from the Midwest to California, and the fresh plums and pears have kept me quiet thus far.
Speaking of California, I can’t believe it, but I’ve been here for a month already. Time has gotten away from me, but I promise that the next post will explain a little more about culinary school and the food I’ve been making and eating. I’m still working on the best way to write about it, but I’ve officially used up all of my archived recipes, so I can delay no more! Till then, I hope this chicken kiev–filled with whatever you’d like–tides you over. Enjoy!
adapted from the Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 whole boneless chicken breasts, skinned
1/4 c. butter or margarine
2/3 c. crushed Saltines [the original recipe calls for “buttery crackers,” but I daresay there’s enough butter here already]
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme leaves
1/8 tsp cracked pepper
1. In medium bowl, stir together all filling ingredients. Divide into four equal portions. Freeze portions for about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350º F.
3. Flatten each chicken breast to about 1/4” thickness by placing the breasts between two sheets of waxed paper and using a rolling pin to flatten them. [I find that using a tenderizer on waxed paper only invites little waxed paper chunks to weasel their way into your food, so I prefer this method.]
4. Place one portion of frozen filling in the middle of each chicken breast. Roll and tuck in edges of chicken, securing with toothpicks.
5. In a 9” baking pan, melt 1/4 c. butter in the oven (4-6 minutes). Combine the remaining chicken ingredients. Dip the rolled chicken in the melted butter, then coat with the crumb mixture in a gallon plastic bag. Place the chicken into the buttered pan; sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
6. Bake at 350º for 55-60 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove wooden toothpicks before serving.