The standard chicken Kiev is a dish of chicken wrapped around cold garlic and parsley butter, coated in egg and breadcrumbs. Follow this link for Australia’s Taste recipe.
This ridiculously easy ‘version’ has chicken and garlic in common with the classic version, and not much else….but, in any case, it’s awfully good.
You can lend it a little more authenticity by at least serving it in the traditional way – or at least in the traditional way as specified by Lee Miller (I have researched this, and I haven’t found anything to back up what she says). This involves serving it with fried bread, on a bed of watercress salad. Miller explains that Kiev is home to a famous military school, and that the local soldiery were all very proud of their technique with chicken which they served up to look like a gun on a blocked stand (the fried bread) on a meadow of watercress.
There is also some talk about beetroot (it’s supposed to be military blood and guts) – but rather than roast beetroot, I think this might be better with some that has been lightly pickled.
Recipe for a ridiculously simple not-chicken Kiev
• 150g Boursin garlic and herbs
• 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with ½ tsp smoked salt
• 2 plump skinless chicken breasts – total weight approx. 320g/11 oz
• 6 generous slices of bacon
• Olive oil
• Freshly ground black pepper or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes.
• Fried bread
Ingredients for the watercress salad
• 100-130g/4 oz watercress
• 4 tbsps walnut oil
• 1 tbps raspberry vinegar
• Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Mix the garlic in with the Boursin.
3. Cut a pocket in each of the breasts and stuff to bursting with the Boursin. Don’t worry if there is some left over.
4. Put a few grinds of pepper (or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes) over each breast, and wrap securely in the bacon.
5. Oil an ovenproof dish, and oil the breasts. Put them onto the dish and into the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, but if you have any cheese left over, add it to the dish about five minutes prior to taking out of the oven.
“Serving the dish
Fried bread on which the ‘gun’ is placed and the individual plate is carpeted with watercress and chopped beets. Lemon wedges are part of this scenery. The waiter pokes a sharp knife point into the centre of the ‘gun’ carefully covering his hand with a napkin, like a gory sacrifice, or for modesty.”
-Bettina McNulty, Lee Miller – a life with food, friends and recipes
Renaissance plays Kiev, from the album Prologue; and Mussorsky’s Great Gate of Kiev.