Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu... I have been making this recipe for years now. It is such a wonderful and tasty dish...not to mention that you can prepare it in advance. You can easily have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes...
I always fall back on this recipe when I have guests coming. It is pretty nice to be able to enjoy their company without worrying too much about dinner. I usually prepare the chicken rolls in the morning, place them in the refrigerator and then bake them right before dinner. I make a salad and mashed potatoes to accompany the chicken. You can prepare the salad beforehand as well... and add salad dressing right before serving. I also get the potatoes prepped in advance. I peel the potatoes, cut them in chunks and place them in a pot. I then completely cover the potatoes with water and keep them covered until ready to make them into mashed potatoes. It is important to keep the potatoes immersed in water so that they will not turn black on you.
How many chicken rolls you make depends on the number of family/guests you will be serving. That is the neat thing about this recipe...you can make one or two or enough for a crowd. You can also cut the chicken cordon bleu in slices(after they have been baked), and skewer them onto a bamboo stick for a quick appetizer. The spiral shape looks quite pretty.
I usually use Swiss/Gruyere cheese and thinly sliced deli ham for the filling. If the cheese/ham slice is bigger than the actual chicken piece you are using, trim it to fit. I use simple, white, sliced bread for the bread crumbs. It works just fine. Actually, I never use store bought dried breadcrumbs. I find that the fresh bread crumbs have a better taste. You can easily add your own spices/herbs to make it your own. I often mix in some shredded Parmesan with the bread crumbs...but, I have done it without as well. So, if you don't have shredded Parmesan readily available, don't panic...it will still taste delicious. Hope you enjoy...
Tip: you can also add the dried herbs in to the fresh bread crumb mixture. If you have some leftover bread crumbs(after you've finished assembling), you can just sprinkle them on top of all the rolled chicken pieces at the end...patting it ever so slightly so that it adheres a bit.
It is easier to make the fresh bread crumbs using frozen bread slices( cut in a few pieces)...this way the bread doesn't clump up on you when you process it to crumbs.
You will need: amounts can be adjusted according to your needs...I used 5 chicken breasts for this recipe.
5 chicken breasts, split in 2 (total yield 10 pieces)
4 tsps onion powder, divided
3-4 cups fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
salt/pepper to taste
4 TBS butter, melted
3 TBS olive oil, or canola
10 slices deli ham,sliced thinly
10 slices Gruyere/Swiss cheese
optional sprinkle with basil/parsley
1. Process a few slices of bread( simple white sliced bread....the fluffy kind) in food processor to make about 4( or so) cups of fresh breadcrumbs. Add Parmesan and 2 tsp onion powder...and herbs if you like. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in a bowl and mix with oil. Set aside.
3. Wash and clean chicken breasts.Pat dry and cut each breast into two pieces. You will have two pretty thin slices.
4. Place a chicken piece on a cutting board. Lay a plastic wrap over the chicken piece and pound with a mallet to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Take care not to pound too hard because the meat may tear or create holes. Do the same thing with all the chicken pieces. You should have 10 chicken pieces to the original 5.
5. Season each chicken piece with a bit of salt/pepper and the remaining 2 tsp onion powder. Be careful not to over salt the chicken as it is quite thin and the cheese and ham are also salty....
6. Bring all the other ingredients in close proximity. Take out the deli ham and place on a plate. Take cheese out...I usually like to cut the cheese slices in half in case I have to overlap them.
7. Take a chicken piece and place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese(or 2 if you cut the original in half).
8. Roll chicken, jelly-roll style, ...making sure you tuck the sides in as much as possible(this prevents the cheese from oozing out too much in the final baking time). You can secure it with a toothpick. I have, as of lately, started to omit this step. But if you are doing this for the first time, it might help to secure it with the toothpicks.
9. Take the chicken roll and dip into the melted butter/oil...make sure all the sides are well coated.
10. Take the butter coated chicken roll and then roll it in the breadcrumbs/Parmesan mixture.
11. Place in a casserole dish or plate. Finish with the rest. You can sprinkle some dried herbs of your choice...if you haven't mixed it into the bread crumbs. I sprinkled some dried basil...
12. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to ensure that the breadcrumbs stay put on the chicken:).
13. When ready to bake, place each chicken roll on a parchment lined jelly roll pan(this will help with the cleaning later) making sure you don't overcrowd them.
14. Bake in a pre-heated 375 oven for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. The time depends on how thinly you pounded the chicken.