With the arrival of the weekend came another opportunity to cook a classic dish and scratch it off the list. Perhaps even better, I was able to throw some ingredients around it which sorely needed to be used up from the fridge, so the chicken really got to be the star of the show. Plus, any time you can eat meat wrapped in more meat, the feeling of indulgence is pretty inescapable. Not a bad way to end the week!
Chicken cordon bleu is credited to Switzerland but seems to have a rather mysterious, folklore-ish background. The only common “facts” I could find in my internet trolling about this infamous creation was that it did, in fact, originate in Switzerland, and “cordon bleu” can refer to any meat stuffed with cheese and panfried, deep fried, or baked.
Though I only used two chicken breasts, the addition of ham, Swiss cheese, and bread crumbs made it so that I could only comfortably eat half of one. This was by no means a bad thing (helloooo fancy leftovers!) but I think it is safe to say two breasts could easily feed four people, especially if there are other dishes on the table.
Simple starch is a good sidekick here, as it acts as another medium for the delicious mustard sauce which is drizzled over the top of the chicken. But hey, use your imagination and pair anything with it that you think won’t upstage your efforts!
Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
After the chicken was seasoned and then pounded to about 1/2″ thick, I rolled it up with ham slices and Swiss cheese. Next, it was breaded!
I panfried the chicken in a little olive oil then transitioned the whole business to the oven to finish. Meanwhile, I prepared the sauce and made some side dishes. Turns out the fancy name doesn’t mean this dish is any harder to make.
Chicken Cordon Bleu with Creamy Mustard Sauce
- 2 chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper for seasoning, to taste
- 6 thin slices of high-quality deli ham
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 c breadcrumbs
- 1 heaping Tbs dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- ½ c flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 Tbs + 2 Tbs olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Lightly season and pepper both sides of the chicken breast. Using either a plastic bag or two sheets of plastic wrap to contain the meat, use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken to ¼”-1/2” thickness. Lay three slices of ham over each breast, followed by two slices of cheese. If there is a longer end to your chicken, roll it into a tight spiral, keeping the ham and cheese tucked carefully within it. If you need to, use toothpicks to hold it together (mine stayed together just fine without them).
In a wide bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spread flour on one plate and beaten eggs on another. Roll the meat wrap in flour, completely coating all surfaces. Roll the floured meat in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, coating evenly both times.
Heat first measurement of oil in an oven-safe heavy bottomed skillet or cast iron. When hot, add both chicken breasts and cook over medium heat until browned, about five minutes. When the breadcrumbs are beautifully browned, add second measurement of olive oil and flip the chicken over using tongs.
After five minutes on the second side, place the skillet in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted into the chicken breast reads 155°F or higher. While the chicken is baking, prepare the mustard sauce.
Creamy Mustard Sauce
- ½ c butter
- ¼ c flour
- 1 c whole milk
- 1/3 c-1/2 c heavy cream
- 1 Tbs whole grain mustard
- 2 Tbs Dijon mustard, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional)
- Fresh parsley (garnish)
Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until melted, but not browned. Add flour and cook for 1-3 minutes, or until the flour has foamed and absorbed the flavor of the butter, stirring constantly.
Lower heat to medium and gradually add milk, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. Add cream until sauce is of desired consistency. Add both mustards, salt, and pepper, stirring after each addition and tasting for seasonings. Add lemon juice, if using.
Spoon sauce over sliced chicken cordon bleu. Finish with fresh parsley and serve with greens, simple starch like fingerling potatoes or rice, and a glass of white wine.
The mustard sauce looks like a nice twist to a recipe which may have many different interpretations. The idea of a mustard sauce to cut through the rich meat(s) is an appealing difference. The before and after pictures of the chicken really help to illustrate the effort allowed in changing the meat’s thickness and readiness for rolling in the contents.