Summary: An absolutely divine, perfect dish adapted from Cooks Illustrated. This is a time-consuming dish but well worth it. This recipe makes four Kievs; even if you don't plan to eat all four at the time of making, make them all and freeze your extras. You'll be glad you did!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅜ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices white sandwich bread, cut into ¾" cubes (or 2 c fresh breadcrumbs; I made mine from stale baguette)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 7-8 oz each
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
First, make the herb butter by mixing the butter, shallot, herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula or a good spoon until thoroughly combined. Form into a 3" square on plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can put this in a very small tupperware and just scoop out what you need as you go.
Next, make your breadcrumbs if you don't already have some by adjusting an oven rack to lower-middle position and heating oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Add half the bread cubes to food processor and pulse until they are coarsely ground, about 16 1-second pulses (I don't count but feel free). Transfer crumbs to a large bowl and repeat with remaining cubes. Add ⅛ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper to the crumbs, then add the oil and toss until everything is evenly combined. Spread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and dry, about 25 mins, stirring twice during baking time. Let cool to room temp. If you already had breadcrumbs, still toss with s/p/oil and bake ~10 mins just to warm and freshly toast.
Next, prepare your cutlets: Starting on the thinnest side of the chicken, butterfly the breast by slicing lengthwise almost in half (but DON'T go all the way through). Open breast to create a single, flat cutlet. Repeat with all remaining breasts.
Place your cutlets in between sheets of plastic wrap, in a large ziploc, or on a cutting board with a sheet of plastic wrap on top of them. With a meat mallet, pound (starting at the center) to ¼" thickness. Pound outer perimeter to ⅛". Place breasts cut side up on a work surface and season well with salt and pepper.
Unwrap butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces (or scoop an equivalent amount out of your little tupperware). Place a piece of butter near the tapered end of each cutlet and roll up the end to cover the butter completely. Fold in the sides and continue rolling to form cylinder or a nice, tight package. Press on seam to seal. Refrigerate chicken, uncovered, to allow edges to seal, about an hour.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and increase temp to 350° Fahrenheit. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate pie plates of shallow, rimmed dishes (rimmed soup bowls work well). Season the flour with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; season breadcrumbs with ½ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add mustard to the eggs and whisk well to combine.
Dredge each chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off, then coat all sides with breadcrumbs, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. Place on a wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 160°, 40-45 minutes.
**Unbaked, breaded Kievs can be refrigerated overnight and cooked the next day or frozen up to one month. To cook frozen Kievs, increase the baking time to 50-55 minutes (do not thaw first).