“You know they make you wear a bib…”
It’s about time we talked about Mad Men. More importantly, the food of Mad Men.
We’ll begin with sexy chicken Kiev, circa 1964.
After fixing Don Draper up with his wife’s friend, Bethany, on a restaurant dinner date at Jimmy’s La Grange, Roger Sterling says, “Have the chicken Kiev. Butter squirts everywhere.”
We’ve always been a bit meh about chicken Kiev. Too many frozen, stale poultry logs with plasticy fake butter goo oozing out.
But like anything, if prepared correctly, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
We like the idea of serving this without rice or potatoes, lest anything to get in the way of an herby butter pool. The chicken is enough to soak up the butter sauce. Let the breading do its job.
Below is a classic version. Underneath that is a wacky 1960s canned soup retro version, for nostalgia’s sake.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated March 1, 2006
These can be refrigerated overnight or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw and increase the baking time to 50-55 minutes.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 – 5 slices white sandwich bread , cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (7 to 8 ounces each), tenderloins removed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs , beaten
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
For the Herb Butter: Mix all ingredients until combined. Form into 3-inch square on plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
For the Chicken: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Make bread crumbs in two batches: Add half of bread cubes to food processor and pulse until cubes are coarsely ground. Repeat with remaining bread cubes (aim for 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Add salt and pepper to crumbs.
Add oil and toss to coat crumbs. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Shake pan twice during baking. Let cool to room temperature (you should have about 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs).
Butterfly chicken breasts starting at thinnest side and by slicing lengthwise almost in half. Open breast up to create a single, flat cutlet.
With cutlet between sheets of plastic wrap, pound (starting at center) to 1/4-inch thickness. Pound outer perimeter to 1/8 inch.
Unwrap butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces. Place chicken breast cut side up on work surface; season both sides with salt and pepper.
Place butter slices in centre of bottom half of chicken. Roll bottom edge of chicken over butter, then fold in sides and continue rolling to form neat, tight package, pressing on seam to seal. Repeat with remaining butter and chicken. Refrigerate chicken, uncovered, to allow edges to seal, about 1 hour.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate pie plates or shallow dishes. Season flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; season bread crumbs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add mustard to eggs and whisk to combine.
Dredge rolls in flour, then coat with egg mixture. Coat rolls entirely with bread crumbs, pressing crumbs in if you have to.
Place on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until 160 degrees inside, 40 to 45 minutes. Rest five minutes before serving.
HOUSEWIFE CHICKEN KIEV
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 clove (medium) garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp rosemary, crushed
2 lb chicken breasts, boned/split
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 c. lowfat milk
2 Tbsp. Sherry
Blend together 1/2 c. butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary and pepper. On waxed paper, form patty 1 inch thick; place in freezer till hard.
Meanwhile flatten chicken breasts with meat hammer or possibly edge of heavy saucer to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut butter into 6 equal pcs, place one in centre of each breast. Tuck in ends and roll out tightly. Secure with toothpicks or possibly skewers. Dip in egg and then in bread crumbs. Chill.
In saucepan, cook onion with parsley in 2 Tbsp. of butter till tender. Blend in soup, lowfat milk and sherry. Heat; stir occasionally. Fry 2 breast rolls at a time in deep fat at 350 degrees for 10-12 min till well browned. Drain on absorbant paper, serve with sauce.