Chicken cordon bleu: not to be confused with Corbin Bleu, as Wikipedia actually warns. This is the first mistake a lot of people make. My first mistake was assuming, based on its name, that this dish came from France. It’s actually from 1960′s America when, on a day off from the civil rights revolution, someone said, “Hey! Chicken, ham and cheese, all at the same time!” And picky eaters who had been lacking protein from eating only cereal all the time finally had the strength to join the protests and much progress was made. And Martin Luther King Jr. ate it all the time, so it was pretty cool. That’s the story, and I’m sticking to it. Today, it is known as a three ingredient plus pantry item feast. Enjoy.
Jen Cantin graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. with a degree in English and Journalism. She shares other (a)musings at Deep Fried Epiphany and dedicates this post to Nickelodeon’s VicTORIous, the real poppy tween wonderland. Addictive.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
As a compromise between loading this up with egg batter/breadcrumbs and having it be plain baked chicken, I dredged it in flour and drizzled with olive oil for a very slight golden crust. You can skip that part or do a full breading, if you like.
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and dried thyme
2 teaspoons of dijon or whole grain mustard, or more to taste
1/4 pound sliced Swiss cheese (about 6 slices)
1/4 pound sliced ham (about 6 slices)
Olive oil for drizzling
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them flat with a meat mallet or the bottom of a wine bottle or heavy can if you don’t have one. Try to get them a little less than an inch thick. Combine the flour and spices in a medium bowl and coat both sides of each chicken breast with the mixture.
Place the coated chicken breasts back on the plastic wrap with the top (the nicer looking side) face down on the plastic. Spread one teaspoon of mustard, or more if you really like mustard, on each chicken breast. Layer the slices of cheese and ham on top of the mustard, about three slices each per chicken breast.
Do your best to neatly roll up the chicken breasts to make roulades and secure them with butcher’s twine or toothpicks. For thicker meat, you may only be able to fold it in half once, as pictured.
Drizzle the bottom of a medium glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil and place the chicken, seam side down, in the dish. If you have any leftover flour mixture, you can sprinkle it on top. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken.