On the heels of my last post, which featured a Mad Men-inspired cocktail, I thought I’d continue indulging my mid-century fetish by cooking a dish featured prominently in the first episode of the show’s fourth season.
Don is on a date with a pretty young blonde named Bethany Van Nuys. The waiter comes over to take their order:
BETHANY: I don’t even need to look. Chicken Kiev.
DON: They make you wear a bib.
BETHANY: Come on. Let’s have some fun.
DON: Two Chicken Kievs.
Indeed, let’s have some fun.
I never made Chicken Kiev until last night, so I had to peck around online a bit in search of a recipe. After reading over several, I realized there are a few slight variations but, for the most part, the recipe is fairly standard: chicken, pounded thin, wrapped around butter that’s been mixed with garlic and herbs, then breaded and fried.
Yeah, it’s probably not the best dish for your heart or your waistline, but my husband assures me it’s quite delicious and bib-worthy.
For the chicken:
- Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
- Canola or other cooking oil (I use Smart Balance)
For the butter:
- 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Let the butter come to room temperature so it’s pliable, then mix in the garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper. Form the butter into a roughly 3/4-inch log, cover it in plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer while you prepare the chicken (it should be cold and firm before you add it to the chicken).
- Pound the chicken with a meat hammer to about 1/8-inch thickness (but no thinner, as the chicken may tear).
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Remove the butter from the freezer and cut it into four equal pieces. Place one piece on each piece of chicken, then fold the chicken over it (I folded in the sides first and then the top and bottom).
- In a medium-sized deep pot, heat about 1 inch of cooking oil over medium heat (you want it to be about 350°F, but if you don’t have a thermometer, toss in a small piece of bread—the oil is ready, the bread will quickly turn golden-brown).
- Set up an assembly line in three bowls: flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs.
- Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and shake off the excess, then dip it in the beaten eggs and coat it all over in panko breadcrumbs.
- Gently place one piece of chicken in the heated oil and cook for 3 1/2 to 5 minutes per side, until golden-brown but not too dark. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken, watching them carefully, as the oil may change temperatures while you’re cooking.
- Place the chicken in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes to allow it to finish cooking through.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it cool on a few paper towels for several minutes before serving (you may be tempted to dig right in, but you don’t want scalding hot butter squirting into your eyes, now do you?).
I’ve never made Ukrainian food before—nor any food from the Eastern Bloc, for that matter—so I wasn’t sure what to serve with the chicken. I went with basmati rice (which I cooked in vegetable broth with a dash of tumeric and paprika) and green beans with some red and yellow pear cherry tomatoes I picked up at Central Market.