08 December 2010
Poulet a la Kiev (Chicken Kiev)
Ingredients: 2 1/2 lb untrussed, plucked, drawn roasting chicken; one shallow dish of sifted flour; two 1 oz squares butter; one shallow dish of 2 strained raw beaten eggs; one shallow dish of very fine soft white crumbs; hot oil in deep fryer; salt and pepper.
Method: Pinch chicken skin with finger tips to loosen from flesh. Pull away all skin and cut off leg and thigh segments. Chop off wing tips. With thumb and first finger of left hand press the flesh down taut over one side of the wishbone. With point of small sharp knife scrape down this bone until it breaks through flesh. Slip point of knife behind this bone and slide knife down against it to base. Cut through base. Repeat with second side of wishbone.
Take two severed ends of wishbone in fingers and gently ease up and back giving final twist to bring it away whole. Run knife from tip of breastbone (parson's nose end) against breastbone and right through flesh to wishbone end and pare back flesh of this breast and wing piece right down to joint which attaches wing bone to carcase. Cut through joint at this point and continue paring behind joint until the whole section comes away in one piece. Repeat on opposite side of bird. These two severed pieces of wing-breast flesh are hereinafter called supremes.
Turn each supreme singly on its back so that under-side of flesh is exposed.
Examine it carefully until you find long tapering strip of flesh lying inside breast flesh. Lift it up gently and pull it from the main section. Lay on a wooden board and with a heavy metal meat batter, or substitute, dipped into cold water, gradually bat down until II is almost transparently thin and roughly the shape of a small veal escalope. Place one piece of butter in centre. Season surface lightly with salt and pepper and fold up like a minute parcel so that butter is completely enclosed. Set aside. Now comes the tricky bit. Starting at the wing end of the supreme make a sharp incision from centre at this end to within 1/4" of the tapering opposing end. Do not cut through. Using tip of knife work with blade parallel with board gradually paring a mouth or pocket each side. In effect this splits each side of the supreme at centre to within a 1/4" of the edges all round. Run your finger through it to ensure that you have thus obtained a large, neat pocket. Turn your little butter parcel so that folds are underneath and push it into the pocket, ramming it as far in to the wing bone end as possible. Take the lip on one side and pull it right over the parcel. Then draw the opposite lip over the top. Pick up gently in your fingers and draw it out into a long straight tadpole with a tapering tail. Then, always keeping kiev straight, roll it in flour, dust off surplus, coat completely in beaten egg, drain off surplus and bury in breadcrumbs. Pat in a crumb overcoat, straighten once more and refrigerate as many as required until 7 minutes before serving.
Have ready a pan of slightly smoking hot oil. Place kievs with fractional space between each on base of frying basket. Plunge into oil, allow 30 seconds, turn off heat and allow hers to cook to a rich golden brown for exactly 6 1\2 minutes more. Lift out and serve immediately.
Presentation and garnish
Try this in newspaper first. Fold a 15" square in halves. Turn so that fold is away from you. Mark top left of folded newspaper A, top right B, bottom left C, bottom right D and the centre of the folded edge E. Take the double corner marked C and bring across in a triangle to meet E. Press down firmly. Bring this triangle over again so that the folded point of A meets the edge of B. Press down firmly. Pick up the double edge of D and fold completely over so that it is now a thick triangle. Peer in the folds until you find the letter B on your test piece of newspaper. In the centre point of this corner you will find letter A inside the folds. Fold this over towards the opposing point and turn the edges over all round to achieve a dunce's cap shape with a little tapering cuff around the base. Lay the deep point of the cuff flat on the table.
Push one hand inside and press down. Make one of these for each her in plain or coloured starched table napkins. Arrange the required number down a long narrow serving dish, slide a kiev, tip first, into each and tuck a sprig of parsley into one corner of each.
The main problem is how to justify the extravagance of this dish by using legs, thighs and carcase for other meals!
Legs and Thighs, Divide legs and thighs through muscle in centre of each piece.
Brush with melted butter and place in grill pan without rack. Grill pieces slowly until cooked on upper side, reverse and complete grilling. Make Devil Paste.
When undersides of chicken portions are cooked, remove and place grill rack in pan. Place cooked portions on it. Spread liberally with Devil Paste. Allow to bubble and brown under fierce grill. Serve on a shallow dish inside a border of creamed (Duchesse) potato.
Chicken Carcase. Pull apart into small pieces. Place in pan. Cover with quart of stock. Add 1 small quartered onion, 1 scraped or peeled rough-sliced carrot and a faggot of herbs (bouquet garni). Bring all to the boil, then simmer gently until carrot is tender. Strain liquor, remove onion and carrot pieces and sieve or emulsify. Discard all remainders. Return liquor to pan. Add emulsified vegetables and 3 oz of either alphabet noodles or finely broken spaghetti. Bring to fast rolling boil, simmer approximately 9 minutes or until pasta tastes right to you. Correct seasoning and serve.
White meat is adaptable to either dry white or a number of the lighter red wines. Therefore, it becomes a matter of choice as to which you serve with the chicken kievs because these, though complex to prepare, are basically simple and not accompanied by any rich sauce.
As there are about six hundred different classic ways of cooking a chicken, it is essential to explain that the richer the sauce, the lustier the wine; but again this is subject to qualifications. For example, one of the greatest classics Poulet a l'Estragon, a chicken dish served with rice and a rich white wine cream sauce with tarragon, would be happier with a lusty white than with a claret; but any chicken dish cooked with a brown sauce - say, with mushrooms and an onion base - would conversely go better with a claret.
For Poulet a la Kiev we recommend a red Bordeaux or claret, as it is known in England. Red Bordeaux are subject to certain quite simple divisions. If you look at a map of France, you will see that St Estephe near the mouth of the Gironde is much further north than Margaux, which is the furthest south that the grapes are grown for these wines. It is generally correct to say that those grown further north are lustier than those further south. Therefore, for Poulet a la Kiev the more southerly red Bordeaux from Margaux, St Julien and Pauillac would be more suitable than the ones from St Estephe in the north.
Turning to suitable white wines for this chicken dish, a dry hock, which is German, would be a very safe choice or, alternatively, a white Beaujolais, or Chateauneuf-du-Pape, neither of which are nearly as well known and appreciated in this country as they should be.
Supposing you were serving a goose, which is very rich indeed, you would go to the most robust of all the Bordeaux regions for a Pomerol, or St Emilion.