Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Got the Chicken Cordon Bleu(s)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I don’t usually use this space to describe a dish to this extent, but since Chicken Cordon Bleu is often considered pedestrian, I want to entice you to try this one. From this dish’s humble Swiss schnitzel beginnings, came a rise in popularity in the late 1950’s, advancing to stardom in the 60’s. A period when the term “blue ribbon” meant the tops! Typically a cutlet topped with a slice each of ham and Swiss cheese then folded, breaded and fried, we’ve seen many variations on this theme.

We’re serving ours as a sliced roulade so the presentation is stepped up a couple of notches. I prefer to use Prosciutto which is dry-cured instead of smoked varieties of ham. Regarding the cheese, Swiss is the norm but an applewood smoked Gruyere is above the norm and that’s where I prefer to be! I also really like the rough texture of Japanese breadcrumbs, so I enrobe these in Panko, seasoned with one of my favorite herb blends and the heavenly taste of roasted garlic.

Finally I serve the baked, not fried, rolls of international goodness resting in a pool of creamy white sauce infused with even more roasted garlic and spiked with finely ground white pepper.

I Got the Chicken Cordon Bleu(s)
Yield: 4 Servings     Preparation Time: 25 Minutes     Cooking Time: 45 Minutes


• ¼ Cups + 1½ Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
• 2 Eggs, beaten
• 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• 6 Cloves Roasted Garlic, mashed
• 1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
• Kosher Salt
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
• 4 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
• 4 Slices Prosciutto
• ½ Pound Smoked Gruyere, finely shredded
• Olive Oil
• 1 Teaspoon White Pepper
• 1¼ Cups 2% Milk

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush a baking pan with a light coating of olive oil.

Step 2. Prepare a breading assembly line by putting ¼ cup of All-Purpose Flour in the first of 3 wide, shallow bowls. Put the beaten eggs in the second. Melt 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter in the third bowl and mix half of the Roasted Garlic, the Herbes de Provence, 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt and ½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper to form a loose paste. Add the Panko and stir to combine and there are no lumps in the fluffy breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Step 3. Slip two Chicken breasts, side by side, into a gallon size zipper storage bag and pound them to about ¼” thickness. Repeat with remaining two breasts.

Step 4. Stretch a sheet of plastic wrap on the work surface and place a single, flattened, Chicken Breast on top. Center a slice of Prosciutto on the Chicken and spread ¼ of the shredded Smoked Gruyere over the slice of ham.

Step 5. Starting at the longest end, roll the Chicken Breast up like a jelly roll and roll the plastic wrap tightly around the Chicken. Repeat with the remaining 3 Chicken Breasts.

Step 6. Remove the Chicken roulades from the plastic wrap and dredge in the flour, brushing off the excess. Dip the flour dredged Chicken into the beaten eggs to cover completely and then roll them gently in the Panko mixture. Place the roulades, seam side down, in the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Step 7. During the last 15 minutes of baking time, prepare the White Sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the Butter is bubbling add 1½ tablespoons All-Purpose Flour and stir to combine. Cook the Butter and Flour for 4 minutes then mash in the remaining Roasted Garlic and the White Pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the Milk until completely incorporated. Return the pan to the heat and bring to simmer stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons of Butter until thoroughly blended and cover until ready to serve.

Remove the roulades from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice each into ½” to ¾” thick slices and serve placed in a pool of the Roasted Garlic White Sauce.

Tips and Trending

~ When breading larger and odd shaped foods I use glass pie pans. They are shallow enough to allow easy maneuvering and the sloped sides keep the breading ingredients from piling up in the corners of the dish. And I can use my microwave to melt butter right in the dish.

~ If you’re not a fan of smoked flavor, use a regular Gruyere but avoid plain old Swiss cheese. The Gruyere melts much nicer.

~ For a thinner white sauce, use a combination of ½ milk and ½ chicken stock. Add the stock to the roux first and return to the heat for 2 minutes, then whisk in the milk and cook until it reaches your desired thickness.

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