Fried chicken is good. But juicy chicken with a core of an herb-butter mixture composed of garlic, dill, thyme, lemon juice, cilantro and pepper around which is wrapped a thin filet of chicken, and then the whole thing fried to a glorious perfection? I'm not sure there's much better around! This Russian recipe is somewhat difficult to make, requiring a few hours at the least, but the end result is well worth it. The chicken positively bursts with flavor and it is deliciously moist, tender, and juicy due to the butter in the middle, and the crisp fried exterior complets it with a wonderful contrast. It even looks quite elegant when it is sliced into, with the green of the herbs combining with the white of the chicken and the brown fried breaded exterior to make a lovely contrast.
As a note to the incautious; make sure to carefully remove the toothpicks used to hold together the chicken!
This recipe is adapted from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, by Anya von Bremzen, which never fails to give thoroughly superb recipes, although as like with this one which incorporates garlic, thyme, and cilantro into it, I always like to change them around. Generally I prefer to accentuate them. In the book Chicken Kiev is assigned the Russian name of Koteleti po Kievski.
- 1 stick butter, (8 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste and as appropriate
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 handful cilantro leaves
- 4 chicken breasts
- salt, to taste
- 2 large eggs, beaten for dipping chicken
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs, for coating the chicken
- 1 cup flour, for coating the chicken
- Vegetable oil, for frying (deep frying is preferable but a lesser amount can be used if necessary)
- Blend together the butter, dill, thyme, lemon juice, black pepper, minced garlic, and cilantro. Shape these into 4 2 inch long finger-looking bars. Then cover the plate with plastic wrap, and proceed to refrigerate until firm, which should take 2 hours (freezing can cut down this time process).
- Cover the chicken pieces with plastic wrap, and using the flat side of a metal mallet, pound them out as thin as possible, trying as best as possible to not tear them. Tears will allow the butter to leak out when it is fried. Sometimes a heavy rolling pin can come in handy. This is by far the hardest part in my opinion, so don't feel discouraged if it is difficult! Salt and pepper them once they are rendered flat.
- Place a finger of butter into each one, and roll them up around the butter, tucking in and securing the ends with toothpicks. Proceed to roll each first in flour, then in a beaten egg wash, and then in bread crumbs, thoroughly coating them in the alternate solutions. Leave to refrigerate for several hours on a platter, covered with plastic wrap.
- Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees f, and then place the chicken rolls into the oil. If using a small saucepan as I did, then do 2 at a time. Fry for 8 minutes, until they are quite extensively browned on the exterior, then remove to paper towels to allow to drain shortly. Serve immediately once they are done. Remember to remove the toothpicks before eating.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas