FOOD

The ul­ti­mate chicken Kiev? A peer­less crème brûlée? Felic­ity Cloake cre­ates per­fect ver­sions of clas­sic dishes by mix­ing the best from top chefs’ recipes – try them yourself in this fi­nal part of her de­li­cious se­ries

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS -

Four pages of clas­sic recipes, from chicken Kiev and por­ridge to the per­fect ba­con sand­wich

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In this fi­nal, mouth­wa­ter­ing part in our se­ries, Felic­ity Cloake serves up her ul­ti­mate ver­sions of four more clas­sic dishes. Felic­ity has taken recipes from the likes of Delia Smith, Hugh Fearn­ley-Whit­tingstall, Nigella Law­son and El­iz­a­beth David and rig­or­ously put them to the test – then blended to­gether the bits that work best from each one to cre­ate her own per­fect ver­sions...

dish as­so­ci­ated pre­dom­i­nantly with the Seven­ties in all their ex­otic glory, the Kiev’s ex­act ori­gins are, sadly, miss­ing in ac­tion be­hind the Iron Cur­tain. Ap­par­ently im­mune to Cold War travel re­stric­tions, it was a bit of a treat in my Eight­ies child­hood: my brother was adept at spot­ting the in­evitable leaky por­tion and pass­ing it on to some­one else, usu­ally me.

I still love the Kiev to­day but, clearly, the leak­age is­sue was of pri­mary im­por­tance if I was to im­prove upon the su­per­mar­ket ver­sion. Just plug­ging the hole with more chicken, as Hugh Fearn­ley-Whit­tingstall sug­gests, proved a dis­as­ter, with nary a drop of but­ter left.

Si­mon Hop­kin­son and Lind­sey Bare­ham stick the chicken to­gether with egg and flour in their book The Prawn Cock­tail Years, which proves more ef­fec­tive, as does freez­ing the but­ter and se­cur­ing it in its meaty prison with a cock­tail stick.

But the best method of all comes from Jesse Dunford Wood, a Lon­don chef who wraps the stuffed chicken breast tightly in cling­film and freezes it for a cou­ple of hours, then de­frosts it be­fore cook­ing. It’s far less fid­dly, and works like a charm. Dou­ble coat­ing the Kievs with su­per-crisp panko bread­crumbs pro­vides ex­tra in­sur­ance for my pre­cious but­ter, as well as of­fer­ing an­other layer of crunch.

The au­then­tic dish, ac­cord­ing to Hugh, Si­mon and Lind­sey, is made with a chicken breast with the wing bone still at­tached, but Darra Gold­stein sug­gests, in A Taste Of Rus­sia, that this is sim­ply so it can be ‘out­fit­ted with an alu­minium or paper frill to look fancy’.

Hope­ful di­eters may be in­ter­ested to know that the Amer­i­can mag­a­zine Cook’s Il­lus­trated bake their Kievs, which gives a sur­pris­ingly tasty re­sult but, im­por­tantly, fails to deliver the vi­tal crisp outer shell. So it’s deep-fry­ing all the way, I’m afraid – but once you cut into that well of hot, gar­licky but­ter, you won’t re­gret it.

Makes 2

• 50g (1¾oz) salted but­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture

• 2 cloves of gar­lic, crushed

• 2 tbps pars­ley, finely chopped

• 1tbsp tar­ragon, finely chopped

• ½ a lemon

• 2 chicken breasts

• 2 eggs, beaten

• 2tbsp flour, sea­soned

• 4tbsp bread­crumbs, panko (from su­per­mar­kets) if pos­si­ble, sea­soned

• Veg­etable oil, to deep-fry

Use a fork to mash to­gether the but­ter, crushed gar­lic and chopped herbs, and sea­son with black pep­per, a lit­tle salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Shape the mix­ture into 2 small sausages, and wrap each of them in cling­film. Put into the fridge to chill.

But­ter­fly each chicken breast by open­ing it out us­ing a knife (make a hor­i­zon­tal cut al­most – but not quite – all the way through, and open it out like a book), then put it be­tween two sheets of cling­film and bash it with a rolling pin or meat ten­deriser un­til it’s about 5mm (½in) thick, be­ing care­ful not to bash so hard that you cre­ate holes. Sea­son both sides of the breasts well.

Put one of the sausages of but­ter on the edge of the chicken breast near­est you and be­gin to roll the meat up around it, tuck­ing in the ends as you go (use a lit­tle beaten egg and flour as glue if it proves ob­sti­nate). Use cling­film to wrap the chicken into a tight sausage, and freeze for 2 hours.

Put the sea­soned flour, eggs and bread­crumbs into three sep­a­rate shal­low dishes and roll the frozen Kievs in each in turn, then again in the eggs and crumbs.

Put them into the fridge to de­frost, which should take about an hour. Mean­while, pre­heat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3.

Heat the veg­etable oil in a large pan or fryer to 160°C, or un­til a crumb of bread turns golden in about 15 sec­onds, then lower the first Kiev in.

Cook for 8½ min­utes, drain on kitchen paper, then put it into the oven to keep warm while you cook the next one re­peat­ing the process.

Serve im­me­di­ately, once your guest has ei­ther dis­robed or tucked a nap­kin se­curely into their col­lar.

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