I haven't eaten chicken kievs for about 15 years. They're just not something on my culinary radar, ever since I was a student and one of my flatmates at the time used to think nothing of seeing off two of the big buggers with a whole bag of oven chips thrown in for good measure. It put me off, to be honest. That was until the Euro Championships this summer, held in Poland and Ukraine, with the final in Kiev. With a recipe from Gordon Ramsay downloaded, this was the obvious choice for dinner. It was good. Damn good, in fact, and I've got loads of the tarragon butter left over to use for fish.
200g butter, softened
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
small handful chopped tarragon
small handful chopped fresh parsley
4 free-range skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 150g each
100g plain flour
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
100g dried breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp olive or sunflower oil, for frying
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 190°C/gas 5.
2. To make the filling, mix the softened butter with the garlic, tarragon, parsley and seasoning. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
3. For the chicken breasts, check first to see if they have a separate under-fillet, which chefs call a supreme. If so, don't detach it. Using a small, very sharp knife, make a slit in the flesh of each breast fillet from top to bottom, creating a pocket at a slight slant.
4. Spoon the butter mixture into the pocket. If you have fillets with supremes, then simply fold these over the slits to cover them.
5. Mix the flour, pinch of paprika and seasoning together in a shallow bowl. Tip the beaten eggs into another shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs into a third. Toss the stuffed chicken breasts first into the flour to coat, shaking off any excess, then slide them one at a time into the egg and turn until covered. Finally, dip each into the breadcrumbs, again shaking off any excess. Lay the breasts, slit sides down, on a plate and chill to help firm the crumb coating.
6. When ready to cook, pour the oil into a medium frying pan to heat until you can feel a good heat rising. Add the chicken breasts and colour for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for approximately 12-14 minutes until golden brown and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.