An excellent Chicken Cordon Bleu for that exceptional dinner with that very special person. With these step-by-step photo instructions, you can make this classic recipe at home.
A "cordon bleu" is a thin, usually pounded meat wrapped around a cheese filling. It is then usually fried. The French term "cordon bleu" is translated as "blue ribbon," and the dish first appeared in the 1940s.
I had previously done a chicken cordon bleu with a pounded-out chicken breast. It did work but got overly complicated.
I've decided to do a "stuffed" method instead of whacking it with the meat pounder and rolling it. That is an option if you want or need to take out aggression. If you do the rolling method, use slices of cheese and ham. Dicing works better for stuffing.
It is a nice upper 4 to lower 5. Not too complicated for home.
I suggest medium to larger size skinless boneless chicken breasts. You can use smaller (8 oz or less), but they are hard to find and hard to stuff without going through the side.
If you do the flattened out chicken breast, you should use slices of cheese and ham, but diced works better for this pocket method.
Making the hole for stuffing
I like to use a knife to make the slit in the chicken breast. Do it on the breast's thicker side and 1 to 1 ½ inches long and initially 1 inch deep. Then I like to use my finger to extend the pocket. You can use the knife, but it tends to go too far.
While I use Swiss cheese and ham, you can vary the stuffing as you wish. I added a little onion, but it is not needed.
I like to brown the bread crumbs a bit, but you don't have to, but be sure the bread crumbs are cool before adding the cheese.
The breading in this and all recipes stick a lot better if the meat is very dry before the flour coat. Also, allowing the coating to set for 5 to 10 minutes before cooking will help it sit up and stick better.
Note: This is written for 4 breasts but images are for three.
Preheat oven to 400° convection or 425° conventional. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs and brown.
Mince one green onion (optional). Dice 2 oz. Swiss cheese and 2 oz. Ham together in ⅛-1/4 inch pieces. Toss together.
Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Trim the fat. Lay a breast on a cutting board. Cut a slit about 1 ½ inch long and deep into the thick side of the breast. With a finger, expand the pocket to extend into most of the breast. BE CAREFUL not to put a hole in your pocket. Stuff the chicken breasts. You could use a toothpick to close the pocket if needed.
Make a dredge line. Mix ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon onion salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper. In a second pan/bowl, one egg and 1 tablespoon water and whip with a fork. In a third pan/bowl, place the browned breadcrumbs. Add ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs.
Line the pan with aluminum foil and add a rack if you have one. Please give it a heavy spray of PAM.
Dry the breasts well. Dip in the flour mixture. Coat both sides and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg wash, shake off excess. Then the breadcrumbs.
Place on a rack. Add a few more breadcrumbs if there are bald spots.
Place on the center rack of the preheated oven. Cook until 165° internal temperature. About 40-45 minutes.
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Editor's Note: This recipe was originally published on January 13, 2010, which was only two weeks into this blog's life. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.