Occasionally, I will find myself gazing wistfully at a supermarket Chicken Kiev ready meal – fondly remembering when this 70’s classic was the epitome of gastronomic endeavour. Irrespective of the fact that that was, in fact, several decades before I had even been born – Such is the level of association the Chicken Kiev has with the bell-bottomed decade.
Truthfully, when I was introduced to the garlic-butter filled delight, it was already a tired, dated dish. Something that had had it’s time in the sun, and refused to leave until as crisp as it’s crumb-coating. A terrible shame, because objectively it is glorious – crisp, breaded chicken remains one of life’s great gifts and to that, you introduce both garlic AND butter. Quite literally a recipe for success.
So I really wanted to re-invigorate this once wonderful dish. And I have chosen to do this with an ingredient far older, though experiencing a new wave of popularity now. Zhoug.
A spicy, garlicky, herbaceous, bright green condiment from Yemen. Lacing the traditional butter with this flavour-packed Yemenite sauce takes these chicken kievs to entirely new heights whilst still paying ample homage to the original dish.
If you’re looking to impress your guests, this is a winner.
2 Large Chicken Breasts, skin off
75g Panko Breadcrumbs,
30g Plain Flour,
1–2 Eggs, whisked
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
50g Unsalted Butter, softened
TIP – If you are pushed for time you can transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes or so.
TIP – If you’re looking to impress, try using Chicken Breast Suprêmes. These are chicken breasts with the wing drummet still attached. You will be able to get these from any good butcher or cut them yourself from a whole chicken.
TIP – A few tips here:
– I find this is easiest if you lay the breast down flat and try to get at eye-level whilst slicing into the breast, laying the palm of your other hand over the breast, you should be able to almost feel the blade passing through the breast.
– Think of it more as a controlled-puncture than a slice.
– Try and use a Knife with a blade no more than half the width of the chicken breast.
TIP – If the chicken breasts you used do not have any inner fillets, you can VERY CAREFULLY slice off some of the thicker sides of the chicken breast or the very end of the chicken breast and use this instead. It’s easier if you have cut these off before stuffing. Alternatively, you can use a toothpick and pin the cavity shut.
TIP – For added security, you can dredge each breast in flour and egg twice. The egg and flour mixture effectively creates a glue and *should* prevent any butter from leaking out during cooking.