Aug 3, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleus, Bon Appetit.


I've been taken over by a desire to outdo myself. This past weekend I visited my family. Saturday night my brother had plans and father was out of town, so it was just my mom and I. When together, my mom and I always take the chance to make a nice meal. My mom has always supported my culinary experiments and frankly, she is the one person in my family who enjoys trying new food as much as I do. God love the others, but they just haven't found the excitement that comes from trying new dishes and it is often hard to get them to participate or at least try something new.

Picture of Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe
Photo courtesy of
I'd been watching quite a bit of Food Network since I moved in with my friends, but when I saw Tyler Florence of Tyler's Ultimate prepare his Ultimate Chicken Cordon Bleus, I knew that was what I was going to be eating for dinner. I'm all about meals that look like they took a lot of time, but in reality are simple, and this was one such meal. For the sake of using what was on hand, I used regular ham instead of prosciutto, but did buy Gruyere specifically for the recipe. My experience with Cordon Bleu has been the prepackaged kinds that come frozen and the flavors here were on a whole new level. The Gruyere provided a subtle nutty balance to the ham and chicken's saltiness. I imagine this flavor combination would have been emphasized more had I used the prosciutto and I will do so next time I make this entree. Check out Tyler's fantastically easy and delicious recipe at the link above. It's sure to impress.

Ultimate Chicken Cordon Bleus
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 4 thin slices proscuitto di Parma
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated (about 1/3 c. for each chicken)
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only (or 2 T. dried thyme)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.
3. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.
4. Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

To go along with the Cordon Bleus I threw together a vegetable hash medley. To be honest, the inspiration also came from the same Tyler Florence episode, but I took the recipe in my own direction, simplifying it for the sake of time.

Green Bean & Bacon Hash
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 c. bacon bits
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh green beans, cut in half
  • 3 mushroom caps, thinly sliced to yield about 15-20 slices
  • 1 medium new potato, sliced to yield about 12-15 circles
  • 1 1/2 t. rosemary
  • 1 t. lemon juice
1. Heat olive oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and bacon bits. Sautee until onion turns a light golden brown and softens.
2. Toss green beans, mushroom and potato slices in the oil mixture. Lower heat to medium and continue to sautee the vegetables until they have reached a desired texture.

Mom took control of the dessert this time and made a tart and rich lemon bar. Until this weekend, I had no idea the lemon bar had such a large following, so much that people consider themselves connoisseurs of the dessert. This shortbread cookie crust was light and airy out of the oven, but absorbed the oils from the lemon curd overnight making them slightly denser the next day. The curd had a fresh tart lemon flavor unlike other bars I've tasted where the flavor is muddled by filler ingredients. *I will have to get the recipe from my mother so I can post the link here, I will follow up on this.

Although we didn't intend to make the evening all about food, we ended up watching Julie and Julia. I'd seen it once before and was so charmed by Meryl Streep's performance. Child was such an impressive woman and proof that passion, personality, and persistence can take you a long way. Although I wasn't drooling over every dish featured in the movie (and from her cookbook), I would like to get a hold of a copy and take a few lessons from this fantastic and individualistic lady. The movie is a fresh reminder that it is never to late for anyone to make their mark, something which makes this soon-to-be 26-year-old grin.


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