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Apr 29, 2010 08:58 AM

Sealing Chicken Kiev

No this is not the sequel to Saving Private Ryan. Rather, it is a recurring (if twice constitutes recurrence) problem I've had. Specifically, on the rare occasions I've made this wonderful dish a great deal of the butter in the chicken has escaped leaving me with a disappointing void in my life.

Any suggestions for making Chicken Kiev impregnable?

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  1. The only things I suggest is to make sure you have enough overlap of the chicken to provide a seal and then wrap the meat in plastic and then foil and twist the ends tightly and refrigerate the roll for several hours before you put on the coating and do the frying.

    13 Replies
    1. re: John E.

      Interesting suggestion. In this case do you still have to use toothpicks?

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        I agree with John E. The wrap/refrigerate procedure works very well; but it still requires a good overlap and even with the overlap I still use skewers to secure the seal in the initial stages of cooking. You might also want to try an egg wash in the layers of the overlap to help seal them. The egg solidifies by time the temperature exceeds 180 degrees and that sometimes helps reduce leakage.

        1. re: todao

          One of my favorite dishes, and I agree about the egg wash - it makes all the difference for me.

        2. re: Perilagu Khan

          I don't use toothpicks, but I usually stuff the chicken with asparagus, mushrooms and cheese which I think would have less of a tendancy to leak.

          1. re: John E.

            A different recipe, but no less tasty!

          2. re: Perilagu Khan

            Is there any reason why a person should use toothpicks instead of butcher's twine?

            1. re: nstoddar

              Good question. But would twine burn during the frying process? If so you'd obviously have to remove it before cooking.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                Good question. I guess it would help if I'd ever actually made chicken Kiev. I imagine it would be fine. It always lasts for a long time being roasted in the oven.

                1. re: nstoddar

                  If that's the case, I'll try the twine. My experience with protruding toothpicks is that they make the chicken difficult to rotate and brown on all sides.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Yeah, I've had the same problem in the past while trying to make stuffed roulades.

                    1. re: nstoddar

                      I think the twine would be an issue since Kiev is breaded. You'd likely end up dislodging a lot of your crust when you remove the twine.

                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                      Um, put the toothpick(s) in the long way down the seam, so it's flat against the breast; into and out of once will do it. Maybe that's what you were planning. I don't know how to describe it better and can't draw ya a picture! One toothpick per Kiev is enough. That will faciltate easier browning.

                      Or the twine thing...for roulades I use butcher twine.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        I hadn't thought of that...


          3. This is where transglutaminase works above all else; If you have some you can use it to reglue the cut so that the meat becomes essentially seamless (no leaks whatsoever). Failing that: wrap and refrigerate as has already been suggested.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wattacetti

              Transwatchamacallit? I'm assuming this is some sort of food glue without the Elmer's taste?

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                Yes, it's "meat glue," and it's the restaurant chef's solution. Is it "cheating?" Depends on your definition of the word. It's extremely expensive for the home cook (unless someone here has a good source).

                If you go without transglutaminase, it's absolutely essential that you dry the chicken as much as possible before you wrap and chill. If you wrap it up sopping wet, it will never adhere.

            2. So in lieu of the transglutaminase, (laughing) I solidly freeze the individual butter portions first before wrapping with chicken, skewer with two toothpicks, perform flour/eggwash/breadcrumb technique, chill again for a few hours to set the crust and either deep fry or bake. Remember to remove the toothpicks. Deep frying is quicker, seals the seam faster and you're less lightly to lose the butter. Hopefully you will have a nice well-seasoned butter with lots of chives.

              Transglutaminase is legit, works for many applications and is mostly used in the world of molecular gastronomy. Not yet generally available for the rest of us.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Yeah, where the heck would you get it? I bet only available in indutrial quantities.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Nah, there are several home-molecular-gastronomy kits that include it, and Amazon sells a packet for $88. But it's 2.2 pounds -- more than the home cook would use in many years.


                  Perhaps I need to go in with a few people on a packet. Or I also wonder if a chemistry supply house would sell it. Will investigate, because I **heart** the idea of playing with it.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  I was waiting for the freezing tip. It works well. Put in some fresh roasted green chiles, PK and make Chicken Sante Fe!

                3. i've been making chicken kiev since the early 70's. started with the recipe in the old "time/life" series, but have made some modifications over the years. very rarely now will i lose the butter. some pointers: (1) use the freshest chicken that you can find. it pounds out a lot nicer; (2) i do not refrigerate the butter mixture after adding the seasonings. i find that by leaving it on the warmer side, it allows me to be more flexible in fitting it into the chicken. it also eliminates the possibility that the hard butter will puncture the chicken; (3) i pound the chicken quite a bit, and then i use the mallet to pound the seams as well. i will generally make the first fold a simple seam and pound it closed, then i fold in the two sides and pound them, then i roll the rest over. i find it easier to use a wide spatula -type tool to make sure that the chicken is not stuck to the surface and tears as it is lifted off; (4) i then immediately coat with flour/egg wash/bread crumbs and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours - preferably overnight; (5) finally, i always deep fry it - the oil does a good job of sealing the chicken at that point. i put it in the oil cold (not at room temperature) to keep everything together.

                  bottom line is "practice makes perfect". good luck!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: justanotherpenguin

                    Thanks. Alton Brown's recipe seems pretty sensible, and he uses neither toothpicks nor transglootawhoozit!

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      I checked his recipe and that'll work, I would not dare doubt Alton, anyway. One comment, though, I would use fresh herbs. Dill is often used, as are chives, along with parsley and garlic. No transglootawhoozit in sight. Here's to Chicken Kiev success!

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        As far as the herbs go, I'm going for plenty of tarragon and garlic. That's the way my mom made it, and it's the gold standard in my book.

                    2. re: justanotherpenguin

                      Justanothepenguin, I'm not sure I visualize this correctly. If you pound on the seams with a mallet to seal them, won"t the butter squirt out? Thanks.

                      1. re: gfr1111

                        no. the butter is not melted, it is just soft. and you only pound the seam, not the pocket where the butter has been placed.

                        i also read the alton brown recipe. my butter seasoning is very traditional: salt, pepper, finely chopped chives & lemon juice. also, if i read his recipe correctly, he simply cooks the chicken with the fold down, expecting the weight to hold the seal? doesn't sound doable to me.

                        all this talk of chicken kiev is making me want to cook some. if i do in the near future i will take some photographs and paste them.

                        1. re: justanotherpenguin

                          I suppose the idea with Alton's recipe is that the prolonged refrigeration combined with frying in very hot oil, seam side down, will produce a good seal very quickly. I still haven't decided for certain if I'm going with Alton's recipe or another. I do like the simplicity (unusual for him) of his approach, however.

                      2. re: justanotherpenguin

                        Try butterflying your chicken breasts before pounding. They'll flatten more evenly.