Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011: Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

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This is one of those recipes that sounds much harder than it is to prepare. If you tell your family they’re getting chicken cordon bleu for dinner tonight, they’ll probably imagine you slaved over a hot stove all day in order to treat them with a gourmet meal. I won’t tell them any different if you won’t!

Since I still have a little bit of leftover Easter ham to use up, I figured this would be a fitting end to the last of the holiday leftovers.
Chicken Cordon Bleu served with a classic side of Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat
1/2 t. garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 t. Dijon mustard
4 thin slices of ham
2 slices cheese (traditionally it’s Swiss but I used Muenster in the chicken pictured)
2 t. dried parsley
1 egg, with a sprinkle of water beaten in
1 cup flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 cup bread crumbs (find the fresh bread crumbs recipe here)
3/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

Try to pound the breasts as flat as possible, evening out the thickness. I’ve found that a bag of IQF chicken breasts work best because they’re flatter than fresh meat.

Place the breasts on your work surface lengthwise with the widest end closest to you. Sprinkle with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spread the Dijon mustard along the surface, almost to the pointed edge, followed by the diced ham placed across the wide end, and the sliced cheese on top (you may have to tear the slices apart to make them fit). Sprinkle with parsley. Starting at the wide edge, tightly roll up each chicken breast with the filling inside, being careful to tuck any stray fillings and thin edges of chicken back into the roll. At this point, you may secure the rolls with a toothpick, if necessary.
Freshly breaded chix cordon bleu; the short skewer/long toothpick I used to secure them is in the center of each cutlet, hidden beneath the breading. It helped immensely to keep the chicken breast rolls nicely tucked.

Tip: I secured mine with a short bamboo skewer (about the size of a long toothpick) horizontally across the short end seam, catching hold of a piece of all 4 edges.

Place the flour on a plate (paper plates make clean up really easy). Place the bread crumbs on another plate and put your whisked eggs in a shallow bowl in between. Take your chicken rolls and gently roll them in the flour, then dip them in the egg, and finally roll them in the bread crumbs. Do your best to cover the entire surface of each chicken roll without losing any filling!

In a heavy, ovenproof saucepan (cast iron works best), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (just enough to nicely coat the bottom of the pan) over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes total (don't forget about the narrow sides!). Remove from heat and pour the wine into the bottom of the pan. Slide the pan into a 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Serves two.

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