Tuesday, August 11, 2020

#CookingWithRachel Italian-style Chicken Cordon Bleu


This past Sunday I had some fun in the kitchen, changing up a couple of our old favorites. We didn't have any swiss cheese for a traditional chicken cordon bleu, but I had some fresh mozzarella which needed using, so I let my imagine run wild. It may be bland looking on the plate, the flavors were anything but.

This is the result:

Italian Chicken Cordon Bleu stuffed with ham, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, and garden basil.

Roasted cauliflower with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.

Yellow squash casserole (slices of squash layered with provolone and topped with the excess cheesy breadcrumbs used on the chicken and then baked).

First things first. The cauliflower. Roasted vegetables tend to take longer, since they're better if you do them "low-n-slow" at about 200-250 degrees. Make sure to stir every 20-30 minutes until done. For this dinner, I had a head of cauliflower which also needed to be used, so I cleaned it up and broke it down into florets. The thick stem I cut down into 1/4 inch slices so it would cook evenly with the rest. Tossed it all in a high-heat, low-smoke oil (I used avocado, but also like grape seed), added about a tablespoon of chopped sun-dried tomatoes and three or four garlic cloves, roughly chopped. Salt and pepper to taste, then spread it on your baking sheet and pop it in the oven while moving on with the rest of the meal prep. 

Chicken cordon bleu sounds fancy and complicated, but it's not. It's basically stuffed and baked chicken. While the original calls for ham and swiss, you are only limited by your imagination once you have the process down. I believe mise en place is everything, so, gather your supplies before you get going!

Prepare the chicken by butterflying (cutting it almost in half and then opening it) and then pounding it out. TIP: When you put the plastic wrap down, add a few drops of water above and below the chicken breast before folding the plastic over and pounding. The water will help prevent the meat from tearing while you pound it out. When this step is done, cover the chicken and move on to prepping your dredging stations. After thoroughly washing up, of course!

Butterflied, not pounded out
On the left, butterflied but not pounded.
On the right, after pounding.

Dredging Stations:
step 1~ flour, corn starch, salt, pepper
step 2~ eggs, milk, salt, pepper
step 3~ bread crumbs, panko crumbs, pepper, fresh-grated asiago/parmesan

Get your basil and other ingredients, and get ready to stuff, dredge, and bake! (*note you CAN fry your chicken, but I've found it's less messy, and a lot healthier, to go ahead and bake this dish)

Wash, dry, then chiffonade the basil.
Spread about 1 Tablespoon of butter on the chicken breast, add some basil, then layer in ham, pepperoni, and fresh mozzerella slices. Much like an eggroll or burrito, roll your meat packet up.

TIP: toothpicks will help these together. Just remember to remove them before eating!

Dip in the flour mixture, tap off excess, then dip into egg and milk batter, and finally, roll in the bread crumb mix until coated. Add to baking dish. Repeat until all breasts are ready to bake at 375 degrees.

IF you somehow have leftover chicken, it is amazing cold the next day, cut up into your favorite salad mixings.

Bon Appetite!

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