There are many ‘stuffed meat’ dishes in European cuisine. My world was just rocked, however, to learn that Chicken Cordon Bleu (so French sounding, no??) is actually not French. Most likely, it was developed by an unknown American chef back in the 1940’s who was simply inspired by French and other European dishes and named the dish Cordon Bleu, which means ‘blue ribbon’ in French. Some people think it is also named after the famous French cooking school ‘Le Cordon Bleu.’ Regardless of the origins, it’s probably a good thing that that this dish isn’t French because the French people would probably be annoyed by all the various incarnations of the recipe that Americans have come up with. There’s everything from Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole to one-bite appetizer balls to Cordon Bleu panini, etc. etc. I think there are so many ‘versions’ because everything about the original dish was a good idea…thinly pounded chicken topped with savory meat and cheese, rolled into a log, breaded, and baked to a golden brown. When the log is cut you’re left with attractive spirals that yield a ton of flavor in each bite. We wanted our version to be as ‘gourmet’ as possible so we used prosciutto and gruyere plus lots of garlic and thyme to add some complexity to the flavors. If you’re overwhelmed by all the chicken cordon bleu recipes out there give this one a try! You won’t be disappointed.
I think we’re on a roll with our wine pairings because this was another exceptional one! This is a French wine that is sharp, dry, and refreshing, with notes of melon and flavors of tropical fruit, citrus and spice. The wine has a nice acidity that cut through the richness of the cheese and prosciutto and the clean flavors of the wine were a nice contrast to all the layers of the dish. This wine would also be great with seafood!
Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Capital Trail Pale Ale, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Rating: 8.25 out of 10.0
I had to buy this beer after I saw it… it combined three things that I love: Beer, Richmond VA where I went to college, and bikes (although I’m not sure why there are bikes and chains all over this beer can)! While I had prepped myself for a mediocre beer at best due to judging a book by its cover I was pleasantly surprised at how good this pale ale was! The Capital Trail Pale Ale pours a warm copper color with fresh citrus and pine hop aroma. The flavor is an enjoyable balance of in your face fresh hops (from the dry hopping) and a solid backbone of rich malt. While the body of the beer is light passing to medium it still goes down silky smooth.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Adapted from this recipe
2 large chicken breasts skinless and boneless
4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Approximately 8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Lay one chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, 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 half of the cheese over the prosciutto. Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. fresh thyme and 1 clove crushed garlic. 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 second piece of chicken.
3. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the breadcrumbs with thyme, 1 clove garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Lightly beat the egg and season so the flour, the egg and the crumbs are all seasoned.
4. 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. Bake for 45-50 minutes until browned and cooked through. The center of the roulades should reach 160 degrees F.
5. Cut into pinwheels.