I remember Chicken Cordon Bleu from my childhood…but have seen it in a restaurant in the last 15 years? I don’t think I’ve seen it (outside of my kitchen) for at least decade...probably longer. Which is a bit of a shame. Yeah, chicken cordon bleu is old fashioned. And yeah, there are a lot of great, “modern” chicken recipes out there…but there’s a reason recipes turn into classics…at the core, they are good. In this recipe video, I show you how to make a pretty traditional chicken cordon blue. But, like every dish on NoRecipeRequired…remember it’s as much about the cooking techniques as the recipe itself. You can easily modify this dish by using other types of ham (prosciutto, speck, Iberico, bacon…) or other cheeses (fontina, manchego, provolone…). Not to mention, the other ingredients, meat, dairy, or vegetable that you can swap in and out. Regardless, I think this straight forward version is great, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Recipe Overview and Keys to Success
- Pounding out the chicken breast is important. Use many, relatively light taps, rather than a few relatively hard taps, and you’re more likely to get a thin, even piece of meat without any tears
- You can overstuff/understuff the chicken breast. Overstuffed, it gets hard to role up, and the cheese can start oozing out everywhere; understuffed, and you lack the flavor and wow of the ham and cheese. I generally think about 2 slices of ham, just smaller in size than the surface of the chicken, with about the same amount of Swiss cheese is a good ratio.
- Sear the chicken, with the seam side down first. Searing will contract the meat, and help seal in the melting Swiss cheese. Get a good sear around the rest of the chicken before finishing it in the oven
- Knowing when the chicken is cooked through can be a bit tough. Rolled chicken like this one, is thick; but remember the “wall” of chicken is less than an inch or so, therefore it doesn’t take as much time to cook through as you might think. Sear the chicken in a hot pan on all sides for a few minutes a side, then it should only take about 8 minutes in a hot (400 degree) oven to finish cooking
- When it comes to rolling the chicken, you need to decide which way to roll it. Chances are the chicken pounded out into more a rectangle/oval shape than a square/circle shape. I like to role so that 1) Any tares are near the outside edge if possible and 2) if the chicken is a rectangle, so the rolled chicken is longer, rather than shorter…that minimizes any overlap; which complicates cooking time a bit
RECIPE FOR CHICKEN CORDON BLEU
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
- 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 Slices of ham (whatever kind you prefer)
- 4 Slices of Swiss cheese (whatever kind you prefer)
- 8 – 10 pieces of string/butcher twine each cut to about 10 inches long
How to Make Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Allow the chicken to come up to room temperature and pound out the breast so that it’s between a half and one inch thick; it's also spread out quite a bit
- Lay the chicken out on a cutting board and season the side facing you
- Lay the ham slices over the chicken, leaving about an inch clear all around the perimeter (cut the ham smaller if needed)
- Lay the Swiss cheese on the ham
- Roll the chicken (which is probably more rectangle/oval shape than square or circle shape) the “long way”; which will minimize the amount of chicken to chicken overlap. You want just an inch of so overlapped….it’s not a like a jellyroll
- Finish the roll with the seam facing down on the cutting board, and the weight of the chicken will keep it closed
- Now, use the string to tie the two ends of the rolled chicken with two underhand knots each
- Then use two more strings to tie the center of the chicken (a couple inches apart) with two more knots
- None of the knots need to be pulled very tight; a little pressure will be just fine
- Now season the outside of the chicken and heat a pan until it just starts to smoke
- Add some olive oil to the pan, and sear the chicken on all sides, starting with the seam side
- Once all the sides are seared (about 2 - 3 minutes per side), move to a 400 degree for another 8 – 10 minutes; or until the chicken is cooked through, and the cheese melted
- I like to let the chicken cordon bleu rest for another 5 minutes; then slice on the bias and serve
Hope you enjoy this chicken cordon bleu as much as I do!
Wine Recommendation: From the white side, I'd suggest a California Chardonnay, that has enough body to balance the creaminess of the cheese and flavor of the ham. But this is also a dish where reds will work well, and I personally am more often going to go with a light, fruity pinot noir…perhaps from Oregon.