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Chicken kiev is a relatively simple dish that is comprised of breaded chicken breasts stuffed with seasoned butter. Some of the best tips for making this dish include pounding out the chicken to an even thickness and using unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the dish. Rolling the chicken tightly and securely will help to ensure that the seasonings stay inside the meat, while starting the cooking process with the seam of the chicken on the pan will help to seal in everything, keeping your chicken kiev rolled tightly.
One of the most important tips for making chicken kiev is to pound out the chicken carefully prior to filling and cooking it. A basic chicken breast is too uneven, and often too thick, to properly use in this dish. Very thick chicken breasts can be cut in half through the middle of the meat, turning one breast into two thinner pieces of the same size, while less-thick breasts can simply be pounded out. In most cases, you do not want to go any thinner than 1/8 of an inch (about 3 millimeters), as too-thin chicken will likely tear when you roll it. To pound out the chicken, place the breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to gently pound out the chicken, starting from the center and working your way to the edges.
Butter provides a lot of the flavor for this dish, of which there are two basic types: salted and unsalted. A good tip for making chicken kiev is to use unsalted butter, as the use of salted butter in this kind of dish can make it difficult to season the chicken properly. Starting out with all unsalted ingredients and then adding salt to taste is one of the best ways to cook healthy yet flavorful meals. Using salted butter takes this control away, and can result in an over- or under-seasoned dish.
One of the best tips for making chicken kiev is to make sure that the compound butter stays inside the chicken by wrapping it up well and starting the cooking process with the seam side down. The filling from the chicken leaking out can ruin the flavor and texture of the dish, and can also cause a problem if the butter mixes with the oil in which the chicken is cooked. When rolling the chicken kiev, fold in all of the edges to make sure that the butter cannot get out, and then place the chicken down in the pan with the folds directly on the heat. Doing this automatically seals the outside of the chicken, keeping everything in place throughout the cooking process.