Haute cuisine since the 18th century
The origins of this dish are not well documented and are open for debate. Côtelette de volaille, literally translated from French, is poultry cutlet, but most know it better as Chicken Kiev. In French cooking, volaille refers to chicken and this dish is thought to be an adaptation of suprême de volaille. As far back as the 18th century, chefs employed by the aristocracy across Eastern Europe adopted French haute cuisine. At the beginning of the 20th century, cutlet de volaille Kiev-style was offered at the luxury Continental hotel in Kyiv, Ukraine. The signature dish at the hotel’s renowned restaurant was also known locally as kotleta de-volyay po-kievski.
Across Eastern Europe during the soviet era, côtelette de volaille was associated with high class dining. In the latter half of the 20th century, the dish gained international popularity and became known widely as Chicken Kiev.
Nowadays, you’ll often find processed frozen Chicken Kiev at most grocery stores and some restaurants. For some, this may be their only experience with the dish. Why not give yourself and your dinner guests a special treat by preparing them this delicious fresh, homemade dish.
How to make côtelette de volaille – Kyiv style
This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare but the results are well worth it. Make sure that you have all the kitchen gadgets you’ll need first. This includes, a meat mallet, mortar and pestle (heavy bowl with a grinding tool), a whisk and a meat thermometer. Next you’ll need three shallow bowls that are large enough to hold one piece at a time of prepared chicken breasts. Also, you’ll need a large frying pan to hold four pieces of chicken and then a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
For the ingredients, purchase boneless skinless chicken breasts that are about 8 oz each. If they are larger, consider slicing them in half horizontally and butterflying them. This will make them easier to pound thin. You will be pounding them on a cutting board between plastic wrap to about ¼ inch thickness.
Make the garlic butter filling first then chill it. Next wrap the flattened breasts around a piece of the garlic butter and tuck in the sides. Carefully handle the chicken and chill in the freezer so that the pieces are firm. This will make the breading step easier. Gently handling the pieces as you coat them in flour, egg then breadcrumbs. The goal is to ensure that the garlic butter does not leak out while cooking.
The cooking is done in two steps. First, brown the outsides in a frying pan. Lastly, bake the chicken so that it is cooked throughout. Garnish with fresh parsley and a wedge of lemon.
Côtelette de Volaille – Kyiv Style
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 tbsp parsley stems removed, finely chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves about 8 oz each
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ cup vegetable oil for frying
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind together the garlic and salt.
- Add the parsley and butter. Stir with a fork to forma a smooth garlic butter.
- Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. With meat mallet or rolling pin, evenly pound to ¼-inch thickness.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and cayenne pepper.
- Set one first breast piece on a plastic wrap. Place ¼ of the garlic butter in the centre of the chicken breast.
- Fold in the narrower sides, then with the aid of the plastic wrap, roll the longer sides around the filling. Make sure the filling is concealed completely. Make sure the breast is tightly wrapped in the plastic wrap with the gathered sides down. Repeat with the other breasts.
- Place the wrapped chicken breasts on a plate and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Meanwhile, prepare a breading station with three bowls that are large enough to fit the chicken breasts. Add the flour to one bowl. Whisk the eggs together in a second bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to the third bowl.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the stuffed chicken pieces. Gently dredge each piece in the flour. Next, dip each piece into the eggs, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Place the breaded chicken breasts on a plate.
- Heat the oil to medium in a pan that is large enough to hold the four chicken breasts. Add the breaded chicken and fry for about 2 minutes per side.
- Carefully transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with sweet paprika and little salt to taste.
- Bake until chicken is cooked throughout, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken breast. A meat thermometer inserted into the centre of the largest piece should read 165 F.
- Allow to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
NutritionPer serving Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Iron: 4mg
Originally published 11/22/2014. Revised and republished 2/28/2022
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