What’s not to like about Chicken Cordon Bleu? There’s chicken, ham, cheese enveloped in a crunchy coating. It’s a dish that often looks complicated to make, yet so simple at the same time. It’s also one of my brother-in-law’s favorites and he had asked for the recipe when I first started this blog.
I’ve tried making this dish at home before, the way I thought it was made. I’d start out well and feeling good about myself, by flattening the chicken breast with a meat hammer (it always feels good to beat the sh!t out of something ), then layering the ham and cheese in the piece of meat that barely resembled chicken anymore. Things usually go down hill from there on…I never know how to seal the ham and cheese in the center like they’re supposed to, so I usually jab it with a few toothpicks and tell myself it’ll look good when it’s cooked. Then comes trying to keep everything together by squeezing the icky feeling chicken roll while breading it and just trying to get it over with. The final straw is a volcanic mess of cheese all over the baking sheet and none inside the chicken when I cut into it. I decided it’s easier to buy the pre-stuffed, breaded and frozen packs of Chicken Cordon Bleu available the supermarkets rather than go through all that hassle again.
It wasn’t till recently I was thumbing through an old magazine at a friend’s (I can’t remember the name of the magazine not my friend ) when I saw a recipe for Chicken Cordon Blue that it all made sense and it even seemed easy! No beating, no rolling and no deep frying. Just swiss cheese rolled up in ham and gently tucked inside a neat little pocket made in a big juicy chicken breast and breaded in pre-toasted buttery cracker and breadcrumb crust that turns the perfect golden color when baked. So I adapted what I remembered of the recipe and tried the method…and voila! Perfection! The crust was crunchy, the chicken tender and moist, the ham salty and delicious and most importantly, the cheese was all gooey and still in the the middle of the chicken! It was so good, I may never buy another frozen Chicken Cordoon Bleu pack again. If you try making this and taste it…you might never resort to buying it either. Ok enough of the gabbing…here’s the recipe. Do share if you try it
Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe
4 Chicken Breasts (big 8 ounce chicken breasts work best)
25 Ritz crackers
4-5 slices of bread (any kind)
5 tbsp butter, melted
8 thin slices of Deli Ham
8 slices of swiss cheese (or 3/4 cup grated)
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 cup of flour
2 large eggs
Salt and Pepper
– Start with the crust, you’ll need a 20-25 ritz crackers, 4-5 slices of bread and 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Also pre-heat your oven to 450F/230C. Pusle the bread and crackers in a food processor until they form a coarse crumb. Then drizzle the melted butter in and pusle a couple more times to mix it well with all the bread crumbs.
– Scatter the crumbs on a cookie sheet and pop into the pre-heated oven forabout 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on those crumbs and stir them around, you want them lightly toasted not browned or burned!
-Once that’s done tranfer the crumbs to a shallow dish ( a pie dish is great)to cool.
– Part two of this recipe is, stuffing the chicken. Before you do that though,get the stuffing ready. Start by rolling up some swiss cheese in slices of ham. If your ham slices are small, you may have to double up the ham slices to create a larger slice and put cheese in it and roll it up. Keep them ready to go.
– To stuff the chicken, you first have to create a pocket. Using a sharp knife, find the thickest pasrt of the chicken breast near the top and make a slit in the middle. Then pushing your knife in the slit create a pocket trying to keep the initial slit small and avoid cutting right through the sides of the chicken piece.
– Stuff each chicken pocket with 1 or 2 (which ever fits best) ham rolls that we prepared earlier. Cut any excess that’s sticking out off and press the pocket close.
– Generously season the chicken on both sides with lots of salt, pepper and dijon mustard.
– Part 3 of this recipe is breading the chicken. In 3 separate plates big enough for the chicken breasts, beat 2 eggs, a cup of all purpose flour and eggs with some salt.
– Working with one stuffed chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour, then dip the chicken in the egg and lastly in the tasted bread crumbs, covering both sides. Press lighly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken.
– You can refridgerate the breaded chicken covered for up to a day or in the freezer for longer than that.
– To cook the chicken, put them on a lightly greased baking sheet and place them on the lowest rack of the oven (still at 450F) for 8-10 minutes. This will brown the bottom nicely. Then transfer the tray to the middle rack and turn down the temperature to 400F and let the chicken bake for 25-30 minutes.
You can check if the chicken is cooked through using a meat thermometer. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving so that the juices don’t run out.
– Serve the beautifully succulent chicken with roasted asparagus or steamed green beans or brocolli…yum!