I know, I know, Chicken Kiev is stuffed with garlic butter. Recipe purists, before you corner me and beat me over the head with a copy of the Cordon Bleu Cookbook, please allow me to explain.
I made a rather good roast chicken the other day which had a chilli butter stuffed under its skin and smeared all over the top (and bottom and sides). It looked fabulous and the slightly blackened, crispy skin tasted great but the flavour didn’t really penetrate.
So I thought I’d revisit this classic and adapt it somewhat, based on an old recipe from BBC Good Food. I’m pleased with the outcome. It’s worth making extra and freezing some, if you have the space.
We ate it with char-grilled chunks of corn, with lots of lime wedges to squeeze over everything. A tomato and/or avocado salsa is good on the side, as is a crunchy green salad. Roasted potato or sweet potato wedges are optional, unless you’re my husband who likes potatoes with everything.
Chilli Chicken Kiev
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, preferably free-range
120g dried breadcrumbs (I used a mix of toasted home-made and panko, crushed a little smaller)
2 large eggs, beaten with a tablespoon of water
50g plain flour mixed with 2 tspn hot smoked paprika and a grind of salt and pepper
4 tbs sunflower or extra-virgin rapeseed oil, for frying
For the spiced butter:
80g butter, softened
2-3 tspn chilli paste (I used Korean gochujang), to taste
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
In a small bowl, mix the butter with the chilli paste and crushed garlic. Place on a sheet of cling film and roll into a sausage shape of about 3cm diameter, then chill or freeze until firm. You can do this a day or two in advance if you like.
With a sharp knife, make a deep pocket in each chicken breast, going in at the thick end half way into the fillet. Don’t cut all the way through or the spiced butter will leak out when you cook it.
Slice the butter into eight discs and put two inside each fillet. Press with your hand to flatten and seal.
Put the breadcrumbs on one plate and the flour/paprika mixture on a second. Beat the eggs with a tablespoon of water and put in a third bowl. Now dip each fillet into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs.
Repeat so you have a double coating – this will help keep the butter inside. Chill for at least an hour before cooking.
Alternatively you can freeze some or all of them in a single layer now before bagging up. If you do, you will need to cook later them from frozen: pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and cook the Kievs for 45-50 minutes, turning halfway.
If you’re eating them the same day, heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Put a frying pan on a medium-high heat, add the oil and when it’s hot, fry each Kiev for 2-3 minutes a side until golden. You may need to do this in batches.
Transfer to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until done. Remove and rest for at least five minutes before eating.