I distinctly remember the first time I made cordon bleu. My college roommate and now best friend and I decided this was the dish to make for company. Preparing to have her aunt over to our house for dinner we thought about what to make, thumbed through magazines for ideas and settled on chicken cordon bleu. I know we followed a recipe, but I have no idea which one it was.
Over the years I have made this dish many times, but never again with a recipe. So in case you want to try it, this is my rendition of chicken cordon bleu. I claim nothing French or by the books about this dish, it is just what I put together and call cordon bleu.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 C Italian bread crumbs
2 T Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 C flour
1 t kosher salt
1 t fresh cracked black pepper
1 egg, beaten with 2 T water
4 chicken breasts
4 slices of thin sliced prosciutto
1-2 oz shredded Gruyère cheese (can sub swiss)
.5 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 4 tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 375. Combine parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic in a low edged dish. Set aside. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a second low edged dish. Set aside. Place egg and water in a third container and beat. Set aside.
Place each chicken breast between a large piece of plastic wrap and fold it over. Using a meat-tenderizer pound the meat out to a thickness between 1/4 and 1/2 inches. Working with one breast at a time, lay out one piece of prosciutto on the chicken, add 1/4 of the Gruyère cheese and roll up, sealing the roll with toothpicks. Set on a meat board.
Move your three containers into a line starting with the flour, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs. At the end of your assembly line place your baking sheet. I line mine with a silpat. Working with one breast at a time, dredge each through the flour, making sure to fully coat the meat. Then dunk in the egg, again making sure to coat it completely. Finally you want to cover it in bread crumbs. This works best if you set the egg covered breast in the bread crumbs and pull more up to cover the whole thing. Let the breast sit there for about 20 seconds allowing the egg to absorb into the bread crumbs. Pull more up as needed, pressing it into the chicken. Roll the chicken and repeat.
Place completed breasts on your baking sheet and place in oven for 20-25 minutes. You can use a meat thermometer if you want to check that you hit 165 or you can use the press method like I do. So long as the juices are clear and the meat doesn’t “give” very much it is done. But I say if you are new to baking chicken, try the thermometer and when you hit 165 press your thumb into it so you can see how it feels.
Remove from oven, remove toothpicks and serve.