I promised you Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I can't let you down. So while this weekend has been a bit crazy, I'm happy to take the time to blog (thank goodness I'd already moved the pictures to the computer!)
I used to have a lot of trouble figuring out what Jason would eat, and my choices were generally hit or miss. But Chicken Cordon Bleu, oh my, that was a grand slam! I found this recipe wandering through the chicken section on foodnetwork.com, and made the sauce that accompanied it based on recommendations from other reviewers. But I only made the sauce the first time... it's completely unnecessary and I'm a sauce lover. This Chicken Cordon Bleu is awesome on it's own!
recipe by Tyler Florence, my notes and changes in italics
4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
4 thin slices prosciutto di
Parma or 8 slices of bacon
1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs or 1.5 cups panko, but do use panko!
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken. If you fail to get the chicken thin enough, you will have a hard time tucking in the sides of the breast, but that just means you have ooey goodness in your dish that everyone can fight over.
Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown (I discovered this statement to be very true... I forgot the butter once and they were quite pale). Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned. Remember your bacon and cheese have a lot of salt, so you don't need to over do it.
Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. I frequently forget the oil in the bottom of the pan as well, but I find it needed only when I toss a vegetable (I've done broccoli and green beans, but I think asparagus would be great too) in to roast with the chicken during the last ten minutes of cooking (making it a one dish meal). If you've got a few extra breadcrumbs, just throw them in the dish with the chicken to bake. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through. A lot of reviewers stated that the cooking time was not enough, so do be careful and check for doneness (my oven does not allow me to review baking temps since the heat is either or off).
Cut into pinwheels and serve. I always plop the dish down on the table and let people slice it themselves, but if you're looking for presentation, the pinwheels might be nice.