For the longest time, I thought Chicken Cordon Bleu was such a fancy meal. This belief even kept me from trying to make it.
In college, Dustin used to make it for us. Even watching him, it seemed like it required some intricate method and dedication that somehow eluded me. Probably because of the fancy schmancy French name.
Do you know what “Chicken Cordon Bleu” even means? I didn’t. “Cordon” means “ribbon” in French and “Bleu” is the color “blue.” So, “Cordon Bleu” essentially means “Blue Ribbon” and “Chicken Cordon Bleu” means a chicken dish awarded for its excellence. Interesting, huh? Didn’t think you’d learn some French here today, did ya? Heehee.
Last year, I finally tried my hand at making it. And, you know what? It’s really not that hard to make. In fact, it could easily be a weeknight dinner. Seems silly I waited so long to make it.
If you look around the blogosphere, you’ll find most Chicken Cordon Bleu recipes differ on three major elements: (1) Swiss versus Gruyere versus Monterrey Jack, (2) Prosciutto versus Good Ham and (3) Bread Crumbs versus Panko. In my opinion, they all taste good. But, that’s just me and my gluttonous food-loving ways. I’m silly like that. This particular recipe is written for my preferences, but feel free to choose whichever options you like.
I usually drizzle Hollandaise over the chicken and asparagus, but I wasn’t up to it this time. I’m, unfortunately, still cleaning up bits of Hollandaise in my kitchen from a mishap with the blender a few months ago. Ugh. If you’re interested, though, Alton Brown has a delicious recipe I often use and it goes great with this Chicken Cordon Bleu meal. You might even say it’s a Hollandaise Cordon Bleu of sorts. Ha!
Chicken Cordon Bleu
recipe serves 2, adapted from Tyler Florence
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
4-6 thin Prosciutto slices, depending on size
6-8 slices Swiss, depending on size
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Take care not to pound too hard because the meat may tear or create holes. Lay 2 slices of Swiss on each breast, followed by 2 slices of prosciutto and then 2 more of cheese. Try to leave a 1/2-inch margin on all sides to help seal the roll. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tightly like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Season the flour with kosher salt and pepper and spread in a flat dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with thyme, garlic, kosher salt and pepper. Beat together the eggs and season with kosher salt and pepper.
Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, then dip in the egg mixture and then gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan or dish with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades. Bake until browned and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
Cut into pinwheels before serving. Serve with steamed asparagus and drizzle with Hollandaise, if desired.