Cook Chicken Cordon Bleu
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng, VC
Chicken cordon bleu is a dish that truly lives up to its name because it is so delicious and festive that there is no doubt it is truly a blue ribbon offering. Cordon bleu was originally a Swiss dish made of flattened meat filled with cheese. Traditionally, the meat used for this dish was veal, beef, or pork. It was only in the late 1940s that chicken made an appearance as an ingredient for this filling yet delicate epicurean delight.
The most popular procedure followed in creating this dish is to butterfly a boneless, skinless chicken breast, gently flatten it with a mallet, and line it with ham or prosciutto and a strip of cheese. The chicken fillet is then rolled into a tight roulade, secured with toothpicks, coated in breadcrumbs, fried, and sliced into pretty pinwheels.
As expected, many cooks have created their own versions of this recipe. However, all these versions will include the same basic ingredients with some innovations. In some kitchens, the roulade is wrapped in ham or bacon, while in others, the roulades are baked rather than fried. Some cooks like to create a béchamel or a hollandaise sauce to serve with the sliced roulade, and others will opt for a smoother exterior by skipping the breadcrumbs.
You will likely want to have this fancy-looking menu item as a regular in your list of foods for parties and special occasions because it is one of those recipes that you can prepare the day before a party. You can create your own version of chicken cordon bleu, and for sure it will be a best seller among your guests.
Chicken Cordon Bleu with Prosciutto
Here is a version of chicken cordon bleu with prosciutto and Gruyere cheese. This baked version is simply lovely served on top of a bed of asparagus and a serving of cranberry sauce on the side.
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
- 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Leaves of 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 2 eggs
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1Gently flatten the chicken breast into about 1/4 inch thick. Try to achieve an even thickness all throughout.Place a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap.
- 2Sprinkle the inside of the prosciutto with the grated Gruyere.Remove the top plastic and lay on enough prosciutto to cover the chicken breast within 1/2 inch of its edges.
- 3Repeat the process with the rest of the chicken breasts.Using the plastic wrap at the bottom of the flattened chicken breast, roll the meat tightly and tuck in the open ends of the roulade.
- 4(A pie plate will do nicely.) Mix together bread crumbs with thyme, salt, garlic, and pepper; place in another deep dish. Beat 2 eggs lightly and season with salt and pepper.Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper; set aside in a deep plate.
- 5Dip the rolls into the egg, and then gently coat the rolls with breadcrumbs.Remove the plastic wrap, and lightly dust the rolls with flour.
- 6Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so. This will make the breadcrumbs stick better to the rolls.Arrange the rolls at least 2 inches apart on platter.
- 7Fry the rolls until golden; blot the excess oil using paper towels.
- 8Using a very sharp knife, slice the rolls into pinwheels and serve with vegetables.
Healthy Chicken Cordon Bleu with Lean Bacon and Cheddar Cheese
Here is a mild-tasting, but no less delicious version of chicken cordon bleu. It is also a lighter version of the usual dish because reduced fat cheese and lean bacon are used. Instead of regular or lean bacon, turkey bacon makes a very apt substitute.
- Cooking spray
- 4 pieces of boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. water
- ½ cup flour
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp. parsley
- Low fat cheddar cheese, cut in ½ inch thick sticks
- 5-6 pieces of thinly sliced lean deli ham or bacon
- 1Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a large non-stick baking sheet with shortening.
- 2Pound the chicken breasts gently to flatten them into thin sheets. Then season the flattened chicken with salt and pepper.Wash and dry the chicken breasts.
- 3Place the cheese on one end, about an inch from the edge, and roll tightly.Lay each sheet on a flat working surface and place a slice of ham on top.
- 4Refrigerate the rolls for 30 minutes or at least while you are preparing the rest of what you need to finish cooking the dish.Set each roll with its seam side down.
- 5Blend the parsley and breadcrumbs. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside everything.Whisk eggs with water to make an egg wash or egg-water mixture.
- 6Dip these into the egg wash, and then coat them with the breadcrumbs - parsley mixture.Coat the chicken rolls with flour.
- 7Slice rolls when they have cooled, and serve with green salad and a clear soup.Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Wrapped in Bacon
This delightful version of chicken cordon bleu wraps the roulade in bacon. This is definitely the richest of the three versions, and possibly the one that is best suited to festive holiday dinners.
- 3 large chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
- 3-4 slices cooked ham
- 3 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- ½ cup seasoned flour with salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 6 slices bacon, uncooked
- 1Spray a baking pan with shortening.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Tips, Tricks and Warning
- The breadcrumbs stick better to the rolls if the rolls are refrigerated for an hour or more before they are cooked.
- You can bake the rolls in recipe number 2, above, for 20 minutes, then cool completely and freeze. They will keep for 3 days, or even longer. Thaw and bake for 10 minutes before serving.
- You can substitute practically any type of cheese you prefer for the type used in these recipes. You can also rub the chicken breasts with other spices and herbs before rolling them up and cooking them.