Cordon Bleu Spätzlipfanne

The other day, we decided to break out our snowshoes and make the snowy ascent from Grindelwald, Switzerland to First. At first, the walk was lovely, and our snow spikes were able to grip the groomed trail very well to avoid slipping on every step. But as we neared Bort, the snow got deeper, and we sank with each step. To combat this, we put on our snowshoes and continued on our merry way. On the next stretch of trail (to Schreckfeld), we were passed by two alpine joggers (who made us feel out of shape…but who also thanked us for clearing a nice path for them with our snowshoes)…but we pressed on, determined to make it to the top.

Finally, we reached Schreckfeld, and the wind began to howl. We looked all around, and finally, my wife yelled out, “HARK!” For, she had found the purple poles marking our next stretch of trail to the top. Mind you, as we were doing this, there were people in the gondola above waving at us for pretty much the whole hike. Onward, we stubbornly pressed. However, this stretch was noticeably less groomed, and we sank nearly up to our knees with each step. This only emboldened our stubborn resolve, and we became even more determined to summit. The next challenge that laid ahead after a steeply pitched switchback was a field of somewhat jaggedy packed snow. One at a time, we traversed and called back to each other, and when we got across, we realized that we had just crossed a place where an avalanche had occurred a day or two prior.

Now, a little more wary, we turned the next switchback, and the wind picked up even harder, throwing snow and little ice pellets at our faces…but we could see the restaurant and all of its cozy warmth a few hundred meters away. Onward! After a few more twists and turns in the trail, we rejoined with a groomed path, and we completed our walk to First.

At this point, our appetites were ravaging, so we dropped our snowshoes in a locker and went to the Berggasthaus First Restaurant for some food (and beer). The first thing that really stood out to us was a Spätzlipfanne mit Gemüse und Raclette…so we got it to split, and it was amazing. As we paid for our food, we told the cashier why we were so hungry, and she was shocked…she also let us know that the trail we hiked was closed (but in our defense, it didn’t have any closure markings like any of the other closed trails we’ve seen). I tell you this entire tale because that glorious lunch was the inspiration for this post.

For this particular dish, we decided to build upon the idea of a Chicken Cordon Bleu, but we opted to make it inside out! The chicken is wrapped in the schinken/prosciutto/ham, and the cheese is in the Spätzli as part of the sauce.

Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Prosciutto or Schinken
  • Spätzli (Either make your own with our Spätzli Recipe or [if available, use a prepackaged one])
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk (whole milk is best here, but others will work…just try to stay away from ultra-pasteurized)
  • Cheese…We used a Bussalp Bergkäse that we bought from a local farm at the end of our walk…but Gruyere, Raclette, or Emmentaler would also work well.
  • Black Pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  • If making your own fresh Spätzli, do that now per our recipe link in “ingredients” section.
  • Cut your chicken breast into long thin strips. Then, melt some butter in a frying pan, and when it’s hot, add your chicken to the pan. After about 4-5 minutes, flip to cook the other side.
  • While your chicken cooks, Shave your Brussels Sprouts, and dice your mushrooms. Heat some butter in a different frying pan, and when that is hot, add your sprouts and mushrooms to sautee.
  • When your chicken is nicely browned on both sides, remove it from your pan, and let it cool for a moment. Then, wrap each piece in prosciutto/schinken, and put in a baking pan. Then, place all of your wrapped chicken in your hot oven to finish.
  • When your Brussels Sprouts become a more vibrant green, and your mushrooms start to soften, add your Spätzli to the mix. Then, pour in some milk, and let everything simmer.
  • Lastly, grate some of your cheese atop your veggies and Spätzli, add any seasonings you like (we kept it simple with black pepper and let all the other fresh ingredients do the rest of the work for us), and stir to combine/melt.
  • Once your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, you’re ready to plate!
  • Scoop some of your Spätzli onto a plate or into a wide and shallow bowl. Then, place your wrapped chicken atop in any design you like.
  • Devour, and enjoy!

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