Perfecting stuffed chicken with a Kiev

By Jim Bailey

have made hundreds of stuffed chickens, be it Cordon Bleu, Kievs or with broccoli and cheese. Although they are delicious, crispy and turn out beautifully, they were not perfect.

That’s right. Not perfect.Yankee Chef logo

Sometimes the breading will cook unevenly. Other times, some of the filling (especially if cheese in involved) seeps out or won’t hold together until finished. After many days of testing and trial and error, I believe I have come as close as possible conquering these problems.

Why spend so much time on this simple dish? Because for some reason, chicken wrapped in savory filling and cooked so that the inside is moist while the outside stays crisp is enticing, soul-warming and satisfying.

Always, always keep your chicken cold when preparing the following recipes. Take the chicken from the refrigerator to pound, fill, roll and bread it, then plop it right back into the refrigerator. When the chicken is ready to cook, return it to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This seems to work perfectly to help prevent any stuffing ingredients from leaking out during and after cooking.

I have played with many types of breading and although most were great, none was perfect. I wanted the “bite” of panko, but not the crispiness. I wanted the flavor of cracker and bread crumbs, but more “bite.” A simple solution: I ground panko in a food processor to the consistency of cracker crumbs while combining it with the same amount of dried bread and cracker crumbs. Perfection, finally!

Chicken Kiev

Although the sight of melted garlic butter dripping out of a freshly cut Kiev may not appeal to many, it is a treat for me once in a while and I hope you try it at least once in your life. The taste of Kiev combined with the crunch of my breading is phenomenal.

8 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
2 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
1 tablespoon minced, dried parsley, chives or other herbs
15 butter-flavored or whole wheat crackers
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten well
4 chicken breast halves

Chicken Kiev

Crispy Chicken Kiev with stuffed with herb garlic butter.

Place slightly softened butter and garlic in a food processor and process until well combined or place butter and garlic in a bowl and mash together using a fork. Stir herbs into butter. Divide butter mixture into four equal portions. Form each portion of butter into a log shape, tightly wrap in food film and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Pulse crackers and panko in a food processor until coarsely ground. Remove to a bowl and add the bread crumbs, mixing well. Drizzle in melted butter over the top and incorporate well. Transfer to shallow dish: set aside. Place the flour in a shallow bowl: set aside. Place the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl: set aside.

With the bottom of a frying pan or a mallet, pound chicken breasts between two sheets of food film until the breasts are about 1/2-inch thick, being careful not to cause any tears in the chicken that could allow the butter to escape when cooking.
Each piece of flattened chicken should be approximately rectangular in shape. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place a piece of chicken in front of you with the shortest side farthest away.

Place a portion of butter near the edge of the side closest to you and roll very tightly, tucking in the sides as you roll, securing the edges of the chicken together with toothpicks.. When finished with all breasts, transfer to refrigerator for 10 minutes.

One at a time, coat stuffed chicken lightly with flour, dip into egg mixture and dredge in crumbs, pressing to adhere. Refrigerate 30 minutes. With 10 minutes of refrigeration left, preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Next, transfer the cooled chicken to a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and chicken registers 165 degrees F – 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite side dish.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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