New ways with familiar friends
Who doesn’t love a Chicken Kiev? Well vegetarians obviously, but other than that, come on, it’s a bona fide classic – the Ivan Drago to Southern Fried Chicken’s Rocky Balboa! It also has the dubious honour of being Britain’s first ever ready meal – introduced by M&S to a rapturous public back in 1979.
Did I make this Chicken Kiev? No, I’m afraid not. I maintained that proud ready meal tradition by getting these from our local butcher, Chadwick’s in Balham*. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog Chadwick’s have a daily deal – Wednesday is two Kievs for £5, which makes the total cost of this meal about £4 a portion which is pretty good going.
I do plan on making my own Chicken Kievs one day, I’m playing around with a Southern Fried Chicken/Kiev hybrid where the chicken will be soaked in a spiced, smoked garlic infused buttermilk solution over night before being stuffed, bread crumbed and formed into a sphere – a bit like this. This recipe however will have to wait until I invest in a proper deep fat fryer.
In the meantime I don’t really see the point. I have no problem at all buying pre-prepared food, as long as it is good quality – indeed there is a strong tradition of it in France and Belgium with the Traiteur playing a key role in the local community. The Chicken Kievs from our butchers are made from organic, high quality chicken, they’re well stuffed, a good size and a bargain to boot, so I quite regularly pick them up.
Normally I serve these with a buttery mash and spring greens, but this recipe came about after a conversation with my mother. She’d been out to lunch (afraid I can’t remember the name of the pub or I would acknowledged them EDIT – this was the pub) and one of her dining companions ordered this so I thought I’d give it a go myself to try something new.
Was it a success? Well I enjoyed it. Inevitably introducing something bread crumbed and fried to something moist like risotto is going to result in a loss of crispiness in places but I’m willing to take the hit.
I added the Tzatziki just because I had some left over from a previous meal that needed using, but it actually cut this fairly rich recipe nicely.
*Disclaimer: For the sake of transparency I should point out that I am not affiliated with any of the suppliers or restaurants mentioned in this blog. I receive no financial recompense or benefits from them. I simply highlight the places I like to shop and eat. I believe it is essential to support our local independent businesses who play such a vital role in our communities.
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 2 portions
2 x Chicken Kievs (Homemade or good quality pre-prepared)
Sunflower oil, as needed
Pea and Spring Onion Risotto:
50g Unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 x Banana shallots
1 x Rib of celery
2 x Garlic cloves
200g Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
1 x Small glass of dry white wine
700ml Chicken or vegetable stock
4 x Spring onions
150g Frozen petits pois
75g Parmigiano Reggiano
10-15 Mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Handful of Pea shoots
If you want to include a dollop of tzatziki just follow the recipe here.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
For the Pea and Spring Onion Risotto:
Peel and finely chop the shallots, trim and finely dice the celery.
Put a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low/medium heat, add half the butter and tbsp olive oil, the shallots and celery. You are looking to soften but not colour these so be attentive and stir regularly – 8-10 mins. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 mins.
Add the rice to the pan and stir well, ensuring all the grains of rice are well coated in the infused butter/oil. Raise the heat to medium, you want to continue cooking until the rice begins to appear a little translucent – 3 mins or so, stirring regularly.
Add your stock to a separate saucepan and bring to a barely bubbling simmer.
A note on risotto stock: Make sure it isn’t too salty to start with. The stock will be absorbed into the rice and some will evaporate and as such will be a far, far more concentrated in the finished dish. Coupled with the salty Parmigiano it is very easy to over season your risotto, so be careful – err on the side of caution, you can always add extra salt at the end if needed.
Add the wine to the rice, let it cook down to a tbsp or two of liquid.
Add the hot stock one ladle at a time to the rice. Recipes always say stir continuously – it might be blasphemous but I find no difference to the finished result if I give it one good stir with a wooden spoon on the addition of each ladle of stock, let it cook out and then as it is beginning to dry out a little stir vigorously for 20 secs or so, add the next ladle and repeat. Depending on the type of rice you use and the temperature under the pan this will take 20-30 mins. You want the to get the rice to a point where it is slightly more al dente than you would like in the finished dish, as you will cook this for a few mins more. Take off the heat for a moment
Trim the spring onions and slice into thin rounds, soften very gently for 1 min or so in a little of the remaining butter. Add half of them to the risotto, set the rest aside.
Add a little stock to a third of the petits pois and a couple of the mint leaves, blend with a stick blender to a purée. Add the pea purée, 50g of Parmigiano Reggiano and the rest of the butter to the risotto and beat the living daylights out of it with a wooden spoon.
Add the rest of petits pois, and leave to heat through, a couple of mins at most. Don’t overcook, you want them just warm.
Taste. It shouldn’t need any more, but add a little salt if necessary.
The finished risotto shouldn’t have excess liquid, but should be all’onda – that is sufficiently liquid that it moves in waves – tap the base of the pan on a flat surface and the risotto should settle flat of its own accord.
For the Chicken Kievs:
If you have a deep fat fryer simply heat the oil to 160°C, gently lower in the Kievs and fry for 8 mins. Transfer to a roasting tray and place in the oven for 2 mins. Remove and leave to rest for 2 mins before serving.
If, as is generally the case, you don’t have a deep fat fryer, heat some sunflower oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat, you want it to come maybe a third of the way up the side of the Chicken Kievs when you add them. As such try and use a pan that fits your Kievs with just a little space between and around them and you won’t waste too much oil.
Once the oil has come to temperature fry the Kievs on each side for around 2-3 mins, you want them golden, but not beginning to brown.
A note on cooking Chicken Kievs: If pan frying I like to start the Kievs pocket side down, it is normally fairly obvious which side this is, it will be more bulbous. I have no scientific proof, but I believe this helps keep more of the butter in the Kiev.
Once the Kievs have been fried on each side, remove, transfer to a roasting tray and place in the pre-heated oven at 180°C for 8 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 2 mins before serving.
Place a ladle or two of the risotto in shallow bowls, garnish with the reserved spring onions, most of the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano, a grind of black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Place a Kiev on top of the risotto in each bowl.
If using the Tzatziki, place a quenelle or dollop on top of each Kiev.
Add a final pinch of Parmigiano Reggiano and pepper.
I would have liked to have added some pea shoots to finish the dish, but sadly I didn’t have any.