We are terribly fond of chicken here in The English Kitchen. I think it is the one protein that we eat the most of and we probably have it at least twice a week. We may have a red meat once a week, or even less than that . . . and we always have fish at least once as well . . . but chicken, well, it's a real mainstay in our kitchen.
More often than not, I will serve Chicken Breasts. Chicken was not something we had very often when I was growing up. Occasionally my mother would do a Roast Chicken as a treat . . . and every once in a Blue Moon she would cook Maryland Fried Chicken, which we loved. It was Chicken Breasts, dipped in egg and cracker crumbs and then fried. When that was on the menu, we knew were in for a real treat! Chicken used to be a lot more expensive in the olden days.
- More often than not, I will serve Chicken Breasts. Chicken was not something we had very often when I was growing up. Occasionally my mother would do a Roast Chicken as a treat . . . and every once in a Blue Moon she would cook Maryland Fried Chicken, which we loved. It was Chicken Breasts, dipped in egg and cracker crumbs and then fried. When that was on the menu, we knew were in for a real treat! Chicken used to be a lot more expensive in the olden days.
- I know if I had a large family to feed it might be different, but for now it's just us two here, and I can afford to pay a bit more. I know not everyone has that option. I love chicken breasts because they are like a blank canvas just waiting to be written upon. They take to so many different flavours and styles of cooking . . . and as long as you don't overcook them, they make a pretty good basis for a delicious supper.
- Today I cooked them a la Cordon Bleu. I know . . . which interestingly enough is not to be confused with the French Cooking School of the same name. Cordon Bleu actually originated in Switzerland . . . and was done using veal cutlets, stuffed with cheese and ham. Chicken Cordon Bleu is, I believe . . . an American invention. Cordon Bleu merely means Blue Ribbon . . . and this is my blue ribbon chicken!
- I broke all the rules of course. But I think I have made it better. I rolled the ham around the cheese, a good Swiss Emmenthal in this case, and then I cut a pocket into the chicken breast and stuffed it inside. No risk of the cheese oozing out because it's inside the ham. I also happen to believe that if you can cut through the fibres of a chicken breast like that . . . you are going to have one very tender chicken breast. I could be wrong, don't quote me on that . . . I only know for sure that it seems to work.
- That was the only rule I broke though. I then floured, egged and crumbed it as per normal, or pane (pan-aaaa) as it was called in Culinary School. I added butter to the crumbs ahead of time so that I wouldn't have to fry them, and then I baked them for a few minutes at a high temperature, and then finished them off at a lower temperature.
- The end result . . . perfectly cooked Chicken Cordon Bleu . . . crisply crumbed on the outside, moist and tender on the insides and chock full of oozing cheese and ham.
- In short. Fabulous. But don't take my word for it. Try them out yourself and see if I'm not telling the truth. ☺
- Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Printable Recipe
- A traditionally complicated dish, simplified. Delicious and quite easy really!
- 25 buttery round crackers
- 4 slices of sourdough bread
- 6 TBS butter, melted
- 8 thin slices of deli ham
- 8 ounces of emmenthaler cheese, grated (about 2 cups, Swiss)
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to use free range chicken)
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large free range eggs
- 2 TBS Dijon mustard
- 100g of plain flour (about 1 cup)