Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Newbs!

One of the things I love about doing a cooking blog is it forces you to try new and interesting recipes. Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those things I always thought of as too hard to do, so I never even attempted it. Something about having to roll up ingredients with toothpicks...and hope it will A. Hold its shape and B. Cook all the way through...just seemed impossible given my limited skill set...but all of a sudden, today, I woke up and decided I was gonna try and make this.

*Derpy Edit -- I should probably give you a list of ingredients:

  •  6 Boneless Chicken Breast halves
  • 6 Slices of Boiled Ham
  • 6 Slices of Swiss Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour (pretty sure I used a lot more than that.)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Tsp Chicken Bouillon Granules (go easy on this..)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
For starters, preheat the oven to 350. Now, because Chicken Cordon Bleu needs nice thin slices of chicken, I decided to make a cooked, shredded chicken meal for tomorrow (Southwestern Egg Rolls, fyi,) thus allowing me the luxury of keeping that nice flat top piece while tossing those weird shaped under pieces into something else. Using a nice sharp knife (by the way, nice sharp knives DO took me a stupid long time to finally understand this.) slice your chicken in half like the illustration below..and just use those pretty top pieces. (Bottom pieces go into a foil hell all their own.)

Each thin slice of chicken now gets a slice of ham and a slice of swiss folded onto the top of it. I literally went to the deli and asked for SIX slices of Ham and SIX slices of Swiss Cheese, and the young woman behind the counter literally rolled her eyes at me. But why get more than you need?!

There are two methods to rolling these things up. The more common is to roll it up thin end to fat end long ways, and the other is to just fold it in half. Being a newb, I tried both ways to try both methods out. Once I rolled them, I secured that thing with a TON of toothpicks...because bitches love toothpicks. Meanwhile, I melt some butter (Did I say 'some?' How about six freaking artery clogging tablespoons worth?) in a pan over med-high heat. (Downs a handful of Simvastatin)

(Picture of butter melting in a pan...because Melted Butter!) 

Dredge the chicken pieces in flour, or...flour mixed with some seasoned bread crumbs. Some people dip them in egg first. I didn't do this..because after using SIX FREAKING ARTERY CLOGGING TABLESPOONS worth of butter, I am going to pretend to be health conscious. That...and this particular recipe didn't actually call for it.

(Dredging the chicken roll in flour)
(Is it me, or does this look pornographic?)

And then, why not just go ahead and toss that chicken on into that sea of butter. 

So the idea is to brown the chicken on all sides, and you would THINK that the cheese would fall out and it would get really messy, but this didn't actually happen. (Well, it did a little, but just a very teeny little.) You want to fry it long enough in the butter so that the sides get nice and brown. I started with the 'non open' sides down and then moved them around, which..requires a little creative work on your part since there are toothpicks fighting you the entire time. I used two forks to turn them...worked like a charm. 

(Chicken getting golden brown.)
(This is when my husband actually come downstairs to ask what I was cooking.)

Now that the chicken is brown, you put it in one of these things and stick it in the 350 oven for 25 minutes.

I'd like to point out, at this time, that the rolled chicken seems to be holding up better than the folded chicken, although in the end, they tasted exactly the same, so...take from that what you will. While this is cooking, we'll make the sauce. Now, I'll be honest...I didn't care for the sauce that came with this recipe. It came out too salty tasting to me. There are a few dozen different recipes for sauce for Chicken Cordon Bleu when I looked on the net, all with varying ingredients, and I'm sure one of them is delicious. But here is the sauce I didn't like...because I took pictures and well, you may as well learn from my mistake. 

You pour a half cup of white wine into the used pan (of butter goodness,) along with a teaspoon of chicken bouillon crystals. (I think the bouillon is what made it taste maybe try half a teaspoon first. Like, a real half teaspoon, leveled....) (I used one of those haphazard slightly heaping teaspoons...which may have been a bad idea.) Mix the cornstarch and whipping cream in a separate little bowl and then whisk that into the pan, lower the heat and let it simmer for ten minutes. It does thicken up nicely.

 (I...seriously messed up this sauce somehow...)

After twenty five minutes, I checked to make sure the chicken was cooked through nicely, which it was. And here's the finished product! 

(Why yes, that IS a LAKE of butter..but look at my beautiful CHEEEKEN!)

When I cut open the rolls, they were indeed perfect inside, much to my surprise, and they tasted AMAZING, as in a full ten on a scale from one to ten! The folded ones also tasted amazing, and while not as aesthetically pleasing, I found no real difference between the two. Even without my completely messed up sauce, these things were heavenly to eat and now that I've finally got my first Chicken Cordon Bleu under my belt, I plan to make them more often. Hopefully, with a much better sauce. :)