We often look at meals with lots of butter as naughty, particularly if they are covered in bread crumbs and accompanied by mashed potato. As much as I love a naughty meal every now and then, I like to look at new ways of cooking them with a little less naughtiness as my waistline and arteries are approaching the down hill slide. Sad but true.

This delicious Quinoa Kiev was one of those meals as instead of crumbing in bread crumbs, I used a blend of crumbs and quinoa flakes to lighten it up. I also swapped mashed potato for a creamy pea puree laced with mint as you really need something soft to mop up the garlic butter (drool). There was absolutely no chance of switching out the butter for an alternative as that would be criminal and completely Un-Kiev like and we don’t want to go overboard, do we?

Like most of my meals, this is totally open for interpretation. Be a devil, have it with mash or normal bread crumbs……there is absolutely no judgement here. This does look like a lengthy recipe with a lot of ingredients but it really is a simple step by step process, I am just giving you all of the instructions to make it as easy as possible. You could also just serve with a side of steamed greens or salad of your choice…..

Prep time: 40 Minutes

Cooking time: 20 Minutes

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 4

For the Quinoa Kiev:

Oil for frying (vegetable or canola)

4 x 150-200gm Breast fillets

160gm of good quality unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tbs of chopped parsley

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbs of plain flour

1 cup of quinoa flakes

1/2 cup of panko crumbs

Sea Salt & cracked pepper

For the Pea Puree:

2 cups of frozen peas

1/4 cup of chicken stock

1 sprig of mint leaves

1 heaped tsp of sour cream

Sea salt & cracked pepper

For the Spring Salad:

1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced diagonally

4 baby cukes or 1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

A couple of handfuls of snow peas or sugar snap peas (or both), strings removed and sliced

Assorted herbs for garnish (I use micro herbs as I have them in the garden so use what ever you like…, parsley, dill)

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt and pepper

1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts for garnish

To prepare the Quinoa Kiev make sure you remove your butter from the fridge for an hour or two before prepping, it makes it much easier to mix the garlic and parsley through.

Place the butter, garlic, parsley and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper in a small bowl and use a spatula to combine. Scoop the butter out and place it on a piece of baking paper. Fold the paper over and manipulate the butter with your hands to form a log shape, roll it up and then twist the ends so that it resembles a lolly wrapper. You want the butter to be about the size of a cigar (like a big fat cuban). Pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes so that it is nice and firm when you stuff the chicken breasts.

Place your chicken breast fillets on a cutting board and using a long thin knife (a fish knife is ideal), hold the breast with one hand and insert the knife at the end of the breast, where it is the thickest (right at the top). Slide the knife in to about two thirds of the way down the breast, being careful not to penetrate the chicken right through. Remove the knife and insert your finger, give it a bit of a wiggle around to widen the pocket. Cut the butter into four pieces and halve lengthways if need be, before inserting into the pocket. Secure the opening with a couple of toothpicks (I always find an ‘X’ works fine).

To crumb the chicken, set up an assembly line of the flour on a plate lined with baking paper, the whisked eggs in a shallow bowl or baking dish and the quinoa flakes and panko crumbs on another tray lined with paper (saves on washing up). Season the flour with salt and pepper and then lightly coat each breast fillet in the flour, dip and coat with the egg mixture and then roll in the quinoa crumbs until all is well coated. Place the Quinoa Kiev’s on a plate and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes.

To make the pea puree, place the peas, stock and mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, with a lid on, before adding the sour cream and blitzing to a puree with a hand blender. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside. You can reheat just before serving.

To make the spring salad, place the asparagus and snow and/or sugar snap peas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water for a couple of minutes until just cooked and bright green in colour. Drain the water and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and then add the cucumber and radish to the bowl. Season and dress the salad with olive oil and lemon juice just before serving.

To cook the Quinoa Kiev, preheat your oven to 180°C. Heat a large frypan and cover the base with oil. Pop a couple of crumbs in the pan and if they sizzle straight away, the oil is hot enough. Fry the Quinoa Kiev’s on all sides for a few minutes until golden. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper and a rack. Pop a spoon or small pie mould under the foot of the rack so that it has an upwards slope. When the Kiev’s are golden, place them on the tilted rack with the opening at the top, to prevent the butter from leaking out. Finish the Quinoa Kiev in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.

To plate, place a dollop of pea puree on each plate and spread out with the back of a spoon. Place a Quinoa Kiev on each plate and remove the tooth picks with a pair of tongs. Pile the salad along side, top with fresh herbs and drizzle over any butter or pan juices that might be left in the tray.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can watch the process of preparing the Quinoa Kiev in my favourites.

Leftover Spring Greens? You may like to cook this…..