Saturday, January 16, 2010

Baked Chicken Kiev

When I lived on my own and had my first apartment, I always stocked my freezer with frozen supermarket chicken kievs. You know the ones I'm talking about - the individually wrapped bricks of tasteless chicken that's loaded with fat and sodium. Why did I find them so appealing? Convenience. Sad, but true.

But times have changed and I stopped buying those things. Thank goodness for Alton Brown because his recipe for chicken kiev puts the supermarket versions to shame! The tender chicken remains juicy and that burst of fresh herb butter in the middle adds some buttery goodness. Rather than frying the kievs as originally called for in the recipe, I baked mine instead. I also added some finely shredded Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb mixture for additional flavor and to help it brown nicely in the oven. The results?They were absolutely delicious... and no leftovers!

Baked Chicken Kiev
recipe adapted from Alton Brown

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled for the coating
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus extra for seasoning chicken
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large whole eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine butter, parsley, tarragon, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip together. Place mixture on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into small log; place in freezer.

Place chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Squirt chicken lightly with water and squirt the top of the plastic wrap as well. Pound to no less than 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.

Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/5 of the compound butter and 1 tablespoon bread crumbs in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in ends of breast and roll breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with each breast. Place chicken in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight. Wrap up the remaining 1/5 of the compound butter to use for the breading.

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan. Melt the remaining 1/5 of the compound butter and add it to the 2 cups panko and parmesan cheese in a different pie pan. Stir the butter with the panko and cheese to fully combine.

Dip each breast in the egg mixture and then roll in the buttered panko. Gently place each breast on a baking sheet, sealed-side down, and bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Serve hot.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - After coating each chicken kiev, place in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish or gallon sized freezer bag; then freeze. When ready to prepare, bake from frozen in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until the internal temperatue reached 165 degrees.