Call me declasse, boring, or just plain simple, but I love Chicken Kiev. Not even good ones, just the kind you buy in a box, pre-made and pop in the oven for 30 minutes. Fine—roll your eyes, but I love this banquet hall standard for two simple reasons. 1. Because when it’s 6:30 and you haven’t even thought about what to make for dinner it’s easy as a simple box-to-oven motion; and 2. Because anything that’s breaded, stuffed with a garlic-and-parsley butter, and shallow-fried has to be great (at least on a taste level). But unless you’re in the frozen food department of the supermarket or in Russia (surprisingly the dish is not Ukrainian), Chicken Kiev is relatively outdated and frankly not as healthy as I’d like it to be for a weeknight dinner.
Feeling guilty about eating processed meat out of a box, last week I made my own Chicken Kievs following a pretty standard recipe I found online. It was good. That’s all I can really say about it. Everyone enjoyed it, evidenced by six empty plates. But we all agreed that the chicken was a little dry and a lot of the garlic-and-parsley butter had seeped out. So, as we often do, we lingered at the dinner table and talked about how we could improve this dish, give it a second life. Here’s what we came up with. I doubt if it could still be called Chicken Kiev, but all the components are there and this version was definitely superior. We’ve just made it a little easier to throw together on a weeknight (no rolling) and a little more heart healthy (no shallow frying in oil and less butter). We added shallot and extra parsley to the butter so that we upped the taste and lessened the quantity of butter. We don’t have any kids in the family to give us the “Yum” or “Yuck” verdict, but I’m sure it would satisfy everyone at the table.