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Look What’s Cookin’ at the ol’ Homestead

February 22, 2010

My family doesn’t follow directions very well. Whether it’s the engineering mindset of my dad where he wants to find the most efficient, methodical workaround or whether it’s my mom’s persistence to get it done quickly, yet perfectly, we don’t follow directions. I guess that’s my pleasant way of saying that we’re stubborn. By “we,” that includes me. Our way or the highway. Our time or no time.

Perhaps this is why we have such a hard time following a recipe by every pinch, dash, cup, or teaspoon. Baking is the only time that I precisely measure everything. It’s the best way to avoid the tears and swearing that accompanies the flour, eggs and sugar.  

Anyway, my dad has been cooking. Lookie what he whipped up. Chicken Kiev aka chicken a la buttery and breaded benevolence. Naturally, he didn’t follow the directions from just one recipe. He used two!

Dad’s Chicken Kiev

Adapted from

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 large whole eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko), plus 1/4 cup for filling

Blend the softened butter with parsley, tarragon, pepper, and salt. Divide into 4 portions and chill until firm. Flatten each chicken breast half to about 1/4-inch thickness by pounding each between plastic wrap. Place a portion of the chilled butter mixture in the center of each flattened chicken breast half. Roll each to completely enclose the butter. Dip in beaten eggs and water. Roll in bread crumbs then place in lightly greased baking dish. Cover each breast with tinfoil so that the butter stays within the chicken. Cover and bake at 350° oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Chicken Kiev serves 4.

My Dad’s Notes:

D: The recipe describes the butter log that you are supposed to make with spices, I would keep that at about ½ in diameter and make it longer.  My butter log was about 1.5 inches and if it was longer it would spread out more. Also in pounding the chicken, more is probably better to attempt to get two wraps around the butter so it won’t leak.  I made little aluminum boats to catch the butter, so the chicken cooked in it.

E: Yes, Dad we know you how much you love boats.

D: What did Julia Child say about butter?  You can’t get enough of it? 

E: I believe she said, “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.” Or was it “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook”?

D: I have had chicken kiev in restaurants where the butter stays in the chicken, my butter leaked out.

E: Looks divine, Dad!

What have you been cooking up these days? Send over your recipes and pictures to and I’ll gladly post.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruthie permalink
    February 22, 2010 5:08 pm

    My mother made this while I was growing up and the two things that I remember were that she froze the butter log so that it didn’t melt right away and she used toothpicks to hold the chicken together. I made it once and the butter all came out as well!

    Ev…could you go back and edit the recipe and clarify whether you completely enclosed the breasts in foil and also covered the baking dish? I am a bit confused.
    Also add flour to the ingredient list.


    • ehagood permalink*
      February 22, 2010 5:47 pm

      I had to ask my dad about that. My guess is that he enclosed the chicken breasts with foil and just put them in the casserole dish. He’s going to comment. (If he can figure out how.)

    • Russ Wagner permalink
      February 22, 2010 6:06 pm

      Ruthie, Yes, I froze the butter. Believe that is in the recipe. Did not use the flower, just egg and milk mixture and then dipped in bread crumbs. If you use maybe six toothpicks it might seal it up. The second recipe (bake recipe) calls for the Chicken to be covered at 350 for 45 minutes and then uncover for 15. Perhaps a 475 preheated oven would seal the chicken better and keep it uncovered for the duration. Preheat oven to 475, put chicken in and lower temperature to 350. Without cover, it should cook in 45.

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