Although this dish touts the name of the “most famous cooking school in the world” they don’t claim credit and think it probably came from Germany. Side note: it’s a true irony that when you tell anyone French about Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School, they cock their heads to the side and say “Le Quoi”?
Anyways, it’s our last night here and I’ve become sentimental, not wanting to say goodbye. I’m thoroughly torturing myself by listening to Girl from the North Country by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, while cooking the last supper. I decided to try this dish because I’ve never made it and because I also, am feeling “bleu”. Although commonly served in restaurants, giving it an air of complexity, it’s pretty straightforward. And damn tasty.
I haven’t used many strict measures for the recipe because it lends itself to approximation and is one of those dishes where you can “just wing it” and feel great about yourself afterwards. Basically you stuff a chicken breast, bread it, bake it, then make a sauce from a roux, stock and cream. Done.
Chicken Cordon Bleu “a la approximation”
2 chicken breast
2 slices of ham or prosciutto (if using prosciutto go easy on the salt elsewhere)
2 slices swiss cheese
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, beaten with a fork
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs, seasoned (add dried herbs of your choice)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock, room temperature
1/2 cup cream
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 175ºc/350ºF.
Remove the tender from the back of the chicken breast (that bit you can pull off by hand) and trim off any excess fat. Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the thick side of the chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper, then spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard inside each pocket and stuff with ham (or prosciutto) and swiss cheese. Traditionally you would then sew up the pocket with a trussing needle and kitchen string, but I don’t have either of those, so I simply used a wooden skewer and weaved it through the edge a couple times to keep the contents from spilling out.
For the breadcrumbs, use some you bought, or make your own. I had some leftover baguette which I toasted until dry, then pulsed in the food processor with some herbs (a pinch of rosemary, pinch of thyme) until I had finely ground breadcrumbs. Set out three soup bowls, put the flour in one, the egg in the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third. Dip each breast in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs (thoroughly coating with each) and put “presentation side” up on a baking pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes, or until juices are clear.
About 10 minutes before you want to eat, begin the roux. Roux is just a cooked mixture of flour and butter that is used to thicken sauces. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the flour, making a paste. Cook this for about 5 minutes, until it changes color, and smells a bit toasted. Whisk in the chicken stock; keep whisking until the sauce is very smooth and thick. Add the cream and correct seasoning (taste the sauce and see if you think it needs any salt or pepper).
Pour the sauce over the stuffed chicken breast and voila! C’est fini!
Please comment and let me know how you did:)