I have fond memories of the chicken Kiev, not only because it tasted great, but because as a kid it was one of the only pre-packed meals I got to experience. Positioned as the first 'ready meal', beyond the TV dinner and 'boil in the bag' options, the Kiev was launched by a relatively unknown product developer called Cathy Chapman for M&S in 1979.
M&S Food was way beyond our budget, so my enjoyment of the crumbed chicken breast stuffed with garlic butter came a bit later after the innovation was copied by other supermarket chains. I also recall not-so-much enjoying a further derivation by Bernard Matthews with his frozen mini turkey Kievs in the 80s. Remember them?
The Kiev launched at M&S for £1.99 over 40 years ago. Based on the Office for National Statistics composite price index, this is roughly equivalent to £10.13 in 2020. Today you can buy 2 M&S chicken Kievs for £3.75.
While the Kiev's roots can be traced back to 19th century Russian cuisine and French haute cuisine, like many other well loved dishes, its exact origins remain disputed.
What I can't dispute is the relative ease by which these delicious crowd pleasers can be made at home. I used this recipe from BBC Good Food.