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PUBLISHED: 06:39 16 June 2014

Chicken Kiev with Asparagus.
Prepared by Richard Hughes, Lavender House, Brundall.

Picture: James Bass

Chicken Kiev with Asparagus. Prepared by Richard Hughes, Lavender House, Brundall. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2014

Like most cooks I’m an avid hoarder of menus, with the added bonus of collecting from my former kitchens as well as restaurants I’ve visited. I’m still a fan, not leaving a memorable meal without the day’s “carte”.

We have a menu proudly displayed at The Lavender House that dates back to the halcyon days of when it was the Old Beams restaurant, circa 1963, complete with spelling mistakes and a glorious section entitled French Specialities. It lists Parma ham, salami du Milan and of course chicken Kiev (in the early 1960s, if it was foreign it was French!)

With a dozen or so variations on a poached sole fillet and classic garnishes such as Rossini, Forestiere or beurre Café du Paris on your fillet steak, I often read it wistfully with the hope that this classic cookery will once more find its way into favour.

On occasions we’ll resurrect these dishes to sit alongside our current menu, veal Holstein, sole Veronique and crepes Suzette all making recent appearances. The popularity and excitement is always a treat, it’s like revisiting an old friend! Of course we will always try to modernise them slightly, though ensuring we stay true to the origins and traditions of classic Escoffier dishes.

This month’s chicken Kiev is packed with wild garlic, so incorporating that most modern fad of foraging for your food! I’m not a fan of wandering the hedgerows, I must admit. I work on the basis that if anything free is not worth having and many of the more obscure herbs and weeds are on the menu because the sound interesting as opposed to tasting of anything. However if you come across the pungent aroma of garlic leaf then make sure you gather it up. As with many great recipes of the modern world, all sorts of people claim to have invented the dish; what’s not in dispute is that it was the very first chilled meal to be offered by Marks and Spencer. As I always say, great food never goes out of fashion and bring this into May with the first of Norfolk’s asparagus as an accompaniment.

Richard Hughes is chef proprietor of The Lavender House at Brundall and the Richard Hughes Cookery School. He is also director of The Assembly House, Norwich; www.thelavenderhouse.co.uk, www.richardhughescookeryschool.co.uk

Chicken Kiev

2 chicken breasts (free of skin)

125g butter

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

4 cloves garlic

A good sized bunch of garlic leaf or flat leaf parsley

125g flour

1 egg

125g fresh white breadcrumb

2 portions of asparagus, as an accompaniment

1 Trim the asparagus.

2 Peel the ends and place in a pan of boiling water. Simmer for four minutes, then refresh under cold running water.

3 Place the garlic bulb into water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Refresh under cold water

4 Peel the garlic cloves.

5 Mash the garlic.

6 Soften the butter.

7 Add the garlic.

8 Add the chopped garlic leaf (or if unavailable use a good bunch of flat leaf parsley).

9 Add the chopped lemon zest.

10 Add the lemon juice.

11 Mix the butter well.

12 Roll into “torpedo shapes”. Place in the freezer.

13 Make a incision into the chicken breasts.

14 Push in the butter.

15 Lightly flour the chicken breast.

16 Pass through the beaten egg.

17 Then pass through the crumb, ensuring the chicken is completely coated.

18 Pan fry in foaming butter.

19 Turning when the chicken has browned and continue to cook in a pre-heated 180C/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

20 Serve alongside the asparagus.

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