Cutting into Chicken Kiev is one of life’s little pleasures. As the knife pierces the crispy chicken breast, a golden stream of herb-flecked butter flows out, flavoring the meat and everything else on the plate.
Chicken Kiev is a classic dish, one that’s usually rolled in a heavy coating of breadcrumbs. Leave this step out and you have a perfectly Primal meal that’s every bit as flavorful.
Assembling Chicken Kiev isn’t too hard, although it can take a few tries to perfect the process. Even when it doesn’t look perfect, however, Chicken Kiev always tastes good – how can it not when so much butter is involved? To make Primal Chicken Kiev, a chicken breast is pounded thin and rolled around a generous pat of herb-flavored butter then fried in olive oil or animal fat until brown and crispy. The hidden nugget of melted butter is sealed inside, soaking into the meat and turning a bland chicken breast into something rather decadent.
Since this version already changes the classic recipe by eliminating breadcrumbs, there’s no harm in making other alterations, too. For example, leaving the skin on the chicken breast is a possibility and will give the chicken a richer flavor. Adding minced garlic, or red pepper flakes or an entirely different combination of herbs to the butter is up to you. However you choose to re-invent Chicken Kiev, it’s a meal the whole family will love.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus an optional 1-2 tablespoons for frying
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, with or without skin (each breast around 6 ounces)
- 1/4 cup olive oil or animal fat
Mix together the stick of butter, herbs, and salt and pepper until well combined. This can be done by softening the butter and mashing the ingredients together with a fork, or by blending everything in a food processor or stand mixer.
Scrape the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and shape/roll it into a log that is about the same size as a stick of butter. Place in the freezer 25 minutes to harden.
Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and use a mallet or rolling pin to pound each breast to 1/4-inch thickness. Don’t pound it too thin, or the meat will tear when you try to roll it up.
Take the butter out of the freezer and slice it into 4 rectangular pieces that are the same size. Place a slab of butter in the middle of each chicken breast. Fold in the short sides of the chicken breast just a little bit, and then fold over one long side so it covers the butter. Roll the breast long ways into a tight roll. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, which makes the butter firm and helps the chicken hold together better.
Season the outside of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil/animal fat in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken breasts with the seam down. Cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.
A few minutes before the chicken comes out of the pan, you can add remaining tablespoons of butter, for extra flavor and browning.