So it turns out I’m good at chicken. I have chicken skills. There is great chicken power within me. I know chicken fu. That sensation you’re feeling is called the chickening. There’s a war going on out there old friend, and it’s not about who controls the information, it’s about who controls the chick-
You get the point.
I mention this because I’ve made two chicken dishes this week, one an awe inspiring poke in the eye to the fast food industry which left me atop a mound of the deliciousness I’d made screaming ‘GAZE UPON MY NORTHERN FRIED CHICKEN, YE MIGHTY, AND DISPAIR!’ and the other is Chicken Kiev.
Chicken Kiev. That’s major grown up food if you grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
And ate lots of chicken.
And think Kiev sounds a little exotic and cool.
Seriously, this was one of my favourite foods when I was a kid, and chicken Kiev carefully sliced open and exposed to the air with sweetcorn, peas and chips is still one of those meals that instinctively makes me happy. And I dissected it every time, seriously. I think watching Quincy, M.E. at an early age had an effect. Aside from thinking the show was called Quincy, ME, and was about a really confident pathologist of course.
No seriously it looked like that.
Anyway, Victor! The suspects!
So what have we got there, other than Marguerite’s lovely, slightly cracked and soon to be replaced mug? Well, there’s:
-Philadelphia soft cheese.
-Left over roast potatoes rolled in herbs.
-Leftover sautéed mushrooms.
-A whole bunch of chicken.
Oh and some breadcrumbs, and an egg, but they were stuck in traffic.
So the thing I love about Chicken Kiev is it feels a little like a meaty Kinda egg. Horrifying as that image is (Thanks Mum! Chocolate, botulism AND a surprise!) it’s sort of fitting. You get chicken, breadcrumbs and garlic butter.
Except I don’t know how to make garlic butter.
And I’m reasonably certain rubbing a stick of butter with a garlic clove would
A)Take a while
B)Require Barry White. In abundance.
So instead, and also because the recipe recommends it, the cream cheese will serve as filling. Now, given that I live with a pro/am Californian spice fiend I had plenty of opportunity to make it more interesting or perhaps…
To…SPICE things up…
(PUTS SHADES ON)
So I put half a teaspoon of garlic powder, a quarter teaspoon of Cayenne and a quarter teaspoon of onion powder in a bowl and mixed it all together with the cheese and moved on to beating up some chicken.
Seriously, that’s what you do! It’s like the Jack Bauer peppers just with blunt force trauma! I was honestly a little weirded out because, literally, in order to get the chicken flat enough to hold its delicious, cheesy interior, you have to put it in a bag and pound on it like you’re Robert DeNiro in one of those movies where he puts stuff in bags and pounds on them. It’s an unsettling process and given Asda’s touching commitment to frozen Chicken breasts of all shapes and sizes, meant things ended up looking like this;
So with the chicken hammered flat(er, that big guy could take a beating. Not a ‘Will get a title shot at the end of a touching movie about self-belief and guys, or in this case, chickens, punching each other’ way but more in the ‘if you owed this chicken breast money, you’d pay it, quickly’ way), you then daub the delicious cheesy goop over the top and…
Do some origami.
But first you beat an egg (Easier than the chicken, yet somehow thematically appropriate…) and put it in a bowl, then add the breadcrumbs to some flour (Which wasn’t stuck in traffic. Flour, like brown rice, is just an asshole.). Then, fold your chicken.
Pinch the four corners together so it looks like a really horrifying Christmas bauble (‘Oh hey is there chocolate in the-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!’) and then roll it in the egg, followed by the flower and breadcrumbs. This process will be messy I promise, but you’ll end up with this:
Just in focus and slightly less lens flarey.
Then once you have those, put it in the oven for twenty minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or so.
I was fully expecting this not to work. The whole fleshy origami element of it was a bit unsettling and I was prepared to find, when I opened the oven, that both of them had unfurled and I was looking at slightly breaded chicken breasts with a lump of cheesy lava in the middle. Instead, what I got was this:
Obviously not the table, cutlery and netbook playing the Steve Lamacq show on BBC 6, that would be both weird and require a huge oven. No, the stuff on the plate. Which looks like Chicken Kiev, tastes like Chicken Kiev, is shaped like Chicken Kiev and in every other way that matters is in fact Chicken Kiev.
It looked really good. And some of the stuff I make usually doesn’t. And that’s really cool. Plus the hideous mob beating I was required to hand the chicken tenderised it making it taste both different and better. Plus plus, it was a weight watchers meal which mean the chicken was 296 calories and the rest was COUGHIdon’tknowbutnotmuchCOUGH! Win!
What I learned:
-That pounding chicken is a term which sounds filthy even though it isn’t.
-That tenderizing is an actual thing that works.
-That breadcrumbs, whilst seemingly a lazy thing to buy, are actually very effective and much more fun than the never ending process of bread grating I had previously attempted.
-That chicken breasts are the edible equivalent of journeyman boxers. They won’t beat you, but they’ll make you work for the victory.
-That I’m much better at chicken than I previously thought.