Cai ap Bryn pays tribute to the Ukrainian people with a pheasant Kyiv, making the most of the tender breast meat from last season’s surplus. Serves four.
At the time of making this recipe, we had no idea what was coming for the people of Ukraine. In line with many others, we have changed the name of the dish from ‘Kiev’ to the Ukrainian pronunciation ‘Kyiv’ as a tribute to that brave nation.
However, despite the name, there is speculation about the origins of this dish, with many believing the Kiev originally came from France and that it travelled east when wealthy Ukrainians starting employing French chefs. Who knows? But what is certain is that it’s an extremely tasty meal and has been a quick staple for a good couple of hundred years.
As a child, I can remember my parents would frequently cook chicken Kyiv for dinner, with chips and peas, or perhaps some buttered potatoes. That lovely, soft meat with the oozing garlic butter was always a pleasure. Lots of salt and vinegar and a splodge of ketchup.
Pheasant, I believe, actually makes a finer Kyiv. As with many of my recipes, it is fantastic for children or those not accustomed to game. This Kyiv can be made in advance and frozen. If you have several gamebirds to prep, this is a good recipe for making a batch.
I also think this one is a real winner for shoot lunches because it can be made in advance and it’s always good to eat game of shoot days. But it’s a great way to use up any birds you have left in the freezer as well. Even if you don’t have any left yourself though, many game dealers and butchers will likely have some surplus pheasants frozen from last season.
You can also, if you are in a foraging mood, pick the last of the wild garlic and work it into the butter. Oddly enough for pheasant, I reckon this Kyiv works well too for dinner outside, if the sun is shining. It’s perfect on the patio with a cold beer or a few glasses of white wine.
- 4 pheasant breasts
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 100g flour
- 3 beaten eggs
- 100g panko breadcrumbs
- 30g parmesan, grated into the breadcrumbs
- 200ml vegetable oil
- For the garlic butter 100g salted butter
- 2 tsp garlic puree, or 2 fresh cloves, GRATED
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- First, make the garlic butter. Soften the butter and mix in the garlic and chopped parsley. Make sure the butter is only softened and not completely melted. Separate into four mini sausage-style pieces, wrap in cling film to hold the shape and place in the freezer to solidify. This can be made in advance.
- Prepare the pheasant breast. One at a time, lay the pheasant breasts out flat on a board and, with a sharp knife, cut through the side, not all the way. Open like a butterfly and place between two sheets of cling film. Beat gently with a rolling pin or the flat side of a steak hammer until they are around 1cm thick.
- Assemble the Kyiv. Lightly season the breast with salt and pepper. Place the frozen garlic butter sausage a little off centre and fold in the side edges, so the butter won’t escape when it melts. Roll up the breast from the butter end, so that it is fully encased in the middle, as if it is a little package. Gently roll in the flour, then the egg and finally in the breadcrumb and parmesan mixture.
- Next, cook the Kyivs in a pan of hot oil. They can be shallow or deep fried. I place mine in deep oil in a small pan and fry for three minutes at a consistent 180°C. Remove from the oil and cook on a baking tray in the oven at 170°C for a further 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be more than 76°C. Serve with home-made chips and garden peas.