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Saturday, 11 August 2012


Karen said, “Keeping chickens was one way of making money for myself.”

My sister-in-law has Cornish chickens now; last year they were 7 or 8 pounders.   She said today's chickens are bigger than they used to be.    “They must have done something to them.” 
Karen said that the people who bought her chickens years ago liked 2 or 3 pound chickens.   When I asked why, she said, “They didn’t want big chickens because there’s too much meat.”


Chicken Kiev!   So good that I still remember the small English restaurant where I first cut into one and was amazed to find that pocket of lovely melted butter. 

Not an easy dish to make but definitely worth attempting:


4 servings:  based on Savella’s recipe p. 130

Prepare in the morning and reheat before serving.

4 breast of chicken fillets (deboned and skinned)
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp additional butter
1 tsp dried tarragon (or 4 tsp chopped fresh tarragon)
¼ cup flour seasoned with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper
1        egg
2        tablespoons water
1 cup fine bread crumbs

1.      Slice a quarter cup off a pound of butter.  Cut this slice into 4 fingers.  Place these in the freezer.
2.       Spread seasoned flour out on a dinner plate and set aside.
3.      Spread bread crumbs out on another dinner plate and set aside.
4.      Put oil and 3 tbsp butter in a large frying pan and set on cold stove.    
5.      Prepare the fillets: 
-          cut off the partly detached section of a fillet (use this later for making soup, etc.)
-          lay the fillet between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound it with the flat side of the mallet to ¼ inch thickness
-          trim the fillet
-          sprinkle the fillet with ¼ tsp dried tarragon (or 1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon)
-          lay a finger of chilled butter on the fillet and fold in the ends

-          roll the fillet carefully:  you don’t want the butter to leak out when it melts
-          skewer the fillet with 1 or more toothpicks
-          place fillet on a plate and into fridge to stay chilled
-          repeat with remaining fillets

6.       In a wide bowl, beat the egg slightly and mix with 2 tbsp water.
7.      Set up an assembly line:  first the plate of seasoned flour, next the beaten egg bowl, last the bread crumbs.
8.      Coat the fillets with the flour; next dip into egg; then roll in the bread crumbs.
9.      Refrigerate at least one hour.
10.  Heat the oil and butter over medium heat to foaming.  Brown the fillets on all sides.  This should take 15 minutes.  Do not fry too quickly or they will not be cooked inside. 
(Alternative method:  heat 3 inches oil to 350 degrees and fry for 15 minutes.)
11.   Remove toothpicks and refrigerate until dinner time.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Heat fillets in oven for 5 to 7 minutes.