Monday, May 12, 2008

Variation on a Theme: Chicken Cordon Bleu

I've made traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu many times. It is simple, yet can be very time consuming. Last Saturday, I was jonesin' for a little Bleu but was hardly in the mood to slave over a hot stove, so I created this casserole version of the famous dish. It's pretty decent if you're into quick and easy meals.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
½ cup milk
¾ cup short-grain/arborio rice
¾ cup Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ cup cubed ham (or 8 slices deli ham, sliced into strips)
2 chicken breasts, uncooked and cut into 1 inch cubes
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to 9x9 baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with green beans or asparagus.

Here's my traditional recipe:

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 chicken breasts
4 slices Swiss cheese
6 thinly sliced deli ham
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup plain bread crumbs, seasoned with 2 tsp fresh or dried thyme and 1 tsp grill seasoning

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups milk (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup chicken broth)
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ cup swiss cheese (optional)

To prepare chicken:
Preaheat oven to 350.

Pound chicken using the flat side of meat tenderizer or a rolling pin until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Roll or fold chicken around divided ham and cheese. Secure chicken rolls with toothpicks.

Heat oil in a 10 inch skillet over med-high heat. Meanwhile, prepare a 3-dish breading system: 3 shallow dishes, one filled with flour seasoning, one with beaten egg, and one with bread crumbs and seasonings. Dip chicken first in flour, then in egg, and finally in bread crumbs, making sure chicken is coated thoroughly. Transfer chicken to skillet and fry each side for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Transfer chicken to a small baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with sauce, rice, and asparagus.

To prepare Sauce:
Melt butter in small sauce pan over med-heat. Add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings and liquid. Cook until mixture simmers and thickens. Add mustard and cheese.

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