Chicken Kiev is not of Ukrainian origin as the name Kiev would imply. The name “Chicken Kiev” was given to this chicken dish by early New York restaurants to try and please the many new Soviet immigrants who have come to the U.S. And even though this is not technically a Ukrainian meal I still listed it under the Ukrainian Menu tab.
Chicken Kiev – котлета по-київськи
In Russia during the 1700s, the aristocrats became very interested in French cuisine. They would send their Russian chefs to France to be trained or would bring French chefs back to Russia.
Chicken Kiev was actually created by a French chef, Nicolas Francois Appert, in the early 1800s. Chef Appert also invented canning, the method of sealing food in airtight bottles.
Chicken Kiev did not get its name from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Chef Appert actually called his creation Chicken Supreme.
Russian chefs tried to imitate Chef Appert’s entree and called their dish “cotelettes de volaille” instead of Chicken Supreme. Appert’s creation became famous in the Slavic countries of Ukraine and Russia. 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.
There are lots of variations of herb butter. You can use just about any herbs you like for the butter in chicken kiev. Thyme and rosemary make a nice herb butter for pork or for chicken, and basil butter is good with a Mediterranean recipe. Normally, herb butter is refrigerated after you make it, allowed to set and then used later for cooking or even use on or with side dishes and breads.
With this recipe I used a combination of regular breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs to give a nice blend of flavor with crispiness. I used a variety of herbs in the garlic butter but you can use the basic garlic with parsley and chives or get creative with adding other herbs. You can also pan deep fry before baking with the same results.
- 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 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 mins 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 mins 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. I like to use buttered parsley potatoes and buttered carrots.