Saturday, August 8, 2015

Chicken Kiev in Arrabbiata Sauce

When I was a young kid at camp, every summer they served us a meal which we affectionately called “exploding chicken”

It wasn’t until years later that I learned it was actually called “Chicken Kiev”.
We’d eagerly await exploding chicken night, because we knew that when we speared the breaded chicken roll, seasoned melted butter would come exploding out!
Then some kid got butter in his eye, and that was the end of “exploding chicken” night at camp.

The other day I was watching Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix and reminiscing about my camp days, when I decided to make exploding chicken for myself! Normally this would be served plain with a side, but I had about 15 tomatoes for some reason, so I decided to make an arrabbiata sauce to serve over top of the chicken.
The result was explosive!

Chicken Kiev with Arrabbiata sauce (serves 4)


For Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 6 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 oz red wine
  • 1 ½ tbsp red chili pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 - 2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in cold water (to thicken)
For Chicken Kiev

  • 4 chicken breasts (thawed)
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs (+1 cup if needed)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

1) Start by preparing your butter. Take small portion and add to a small pan over medium-high heat, along with your diced garlic and cook until browned. Add remaining butter and your parsley and cook until all is melted and the flavours start to meld. Remove from heat and pour into a freezer-safe container (the smaller the better, I use a 2”x2”). For safety, put that container in a slightly larger container and then place in the freezer. Your butter will start to harden while you prepare your meal. I’d recommend stirring it every 10 minutes or so (the outsides will freeze before the insides, stirring will make this go faster)

2) Now it’s time to prepare your sauce. 

Dice your tomatoes and adding to a medium sized sauce pot, along with oil, salt, wine, pepper flakes and sugar. Mix well and let sit, covered, over medium heat (adjusting to medium-low if needed). Stir occasionally as the tomatoes break down into a sauce. This will take about 30 minutes. Once the tomatoes are broken down, add your cornstarch mixture and stir well, then leave on stove at a low temperature to simmer until you’re ready to eat. Just remember to stir occasionally!

3) While your sauce is in the “breaking down” period, prepare your chicken! Take each chicken breast individually and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Take a meat mallet and flatten until about ½ cm thick.

IF you don’t have a meat mallet: Don’t stress! Just cut into the middle of your chicken breast from the thinnest point along the width, making sure to leave it sealed on the other side and both ends. This also works for smaller chicken breasts that may not have good “rolling” potential.

4) When your butter is good and frozen (mine took about 20-30 minutes) remove from freezer and cut into small pieces. Prepare a work station with your butter, beaten egg and bread crumbs. Place an oven-safe pan on the stove with your vegetable oil, over medium-high heat, and preheat oven to 375F

5) Now it’s time to roll your chicken! Salt the “interior” of each piece and then lay flat. Fill with ¼ of your frozen butter and then wrap up tight (you may need to secure with a toothpick).

Coat well in egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs. Now place into your pan and cook evenly around until the breadcrumbs are browned and chicken has begun cooking from the outside (I did this one at a time, but left each piece in the pan as I progressed).

6) When all your pieces have been flash-cooked in the pan, take the pan and pop it in the oven, baking until the chicken is finished (at this point, a bit of butter may leak out the side if not sealed properly, that’s ok, just leads to delicious chicken!). This takes about 5-15 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.

7) Remove from oven, and serve! Pour some of your arrabbiata over the top (have you been stirring it!?) and cut open CAREFULLY to get at the delicious butter inside (I don’t want any burnt eyelids on my conscience)

I served my Chicken Kiev with a side of spinach risotto! It was a perfect side for this meal. Click Here for my favourite risotto recipe, and substitute the mushrooms, etc. for a bunch of frozen spinach and ½ chopped onion!