Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

Here’s a healthier version of a French classic. It’s only got a few ingredients, but wow, do they ever complement each other well. The saltiness of the ham mixed with the nuttiness of the Swiss cheese…and then when you add in a crispy layer on top of it all, it’s just awesome. However, IF you don’t like ham or Swiss cheese, fear not! The method still works if you swap out some ingredients. For example, my wife’s chicken is stuffed with caramelized onions and Gouda. So play with it! Can’t go wrong if you let your taste buds do your deciding for you.

Tonight, we are pairing it with Roasted Asparagus, but it goes exceedingly well with sauteed vegetables (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower) or heartier dishes like Rosti or mashed potatoes.

Time: 50-60 Minutes (about 10-15 of which is hands-on time)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast (1 per person is a good rule of thumb)
  • Prosciutto (about 2 slices per chicken breast). Any thinly sliced ham will work, but I prefer working with prosciutto for the folding step below, and I already had some on hand from Appenzeller Schinken Pizza.
  • Swiss Cheese (one slice per chicken breast)
  • Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (optional, but highly encouraged)
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • Panko Bread Crumbs

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line a roasting pan with foil (baking sheet works if you don’t have a roasting pan with a rack…it won’t make a huge difference since there isn’t much fat to drip down anyway)
  • Lay your prosciutto on your cutting board so that it barely overlaps, and place your Swiss cheese on top of it. Then roll that all up into a little bundle of deliciousness. You will be tempted to eat it right away, but resist the urge. Your patience will be rewarded. (See pictures below for guidance if my word choice is confusing)
  • Carefully holding your chicken on its side, make a thin slice, and keep working the knife down into that groove to butterfly your chicken. Try not to cut through the bottom. If you cut through a side, that’s not a huge problem. The “bundle of deliciousness” is designed to keep the cheese from melting out, and you can always put the side with the hole on top in the pan.
  • Place your prosciutto/Swiss bundle on one side of the butterflied chicken, and top it with the mustard (if you wish).
  • Brush some of the beaten egg around the edges of the chicken, and fold it closed (this is another defense tactic against cheese leakage)
  • Place the chicken onto your pan, and give the top a good egg brush down
  • Pour your panko bread crumbs on top
  • Place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, and then give a little oil spray to the top (prep for a crispy golden brown finish)
  • When your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F, crank the broiler for a brief time to brown the bread crumbs, and then remove from the oven.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!
Aforementioned “Little Bundle of Deliciousness”

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