Chicken Cordon Bleu
Cordon Bleu is a French-term and translated to English means Blue Ribbon. The term originally referred to an award for culinary excellence. Once again, John Hardy of Team Hardy has bent the rules a bit and put his spin on this traditional French Dish. This version adds fresh-cracked black pepper, paprika and a creamy white wine and Baby Bella mushroom sauce. The whole family gave it a thumbs-up, including Madison, our pickiest eater.
Sacré Bleu! (hear it!)
While I don't claim to be the best food photographer in the world, I can say that I have grown quite fond of cooking. This dates back to grade school when our teacher sent us home with a recipe we made in class to celebrate the founding of our small town, Tekamah, Nebraska. The recipe was for Sod Cake and contrary to what the name may imply, it was not made of grass but was a yellow cake with a rough texture that was similar to cornbread with the traditional taste of cake.
I begged my Mom to make this for me and my brother repeatedly until one day she said, "If you want it that bad, you're going to learn to make it yourself." That was the start of my friendship with ovens, stoves and grills. The second reason this was a good thing was because when mom was gone it meant that Dad was cooking and when Dad was cooking we lost weight.
Luckily for us, Mom was not gone very often and we didn't have to fend for ourselves for dinner.
When I went off to college, however, I discovered quickly that if I was going to eat a good meal I would have to learn or turn fat eating Runza® every day. In the early days my room mate and I thought we were getting quite good at cooking and dared to invite our friends, who happened to be girls, over for dinner. We were going to make Chinese although neither of us had ever made rice. Needless-to-say we averted disaster after burning up most of the food we'd prepared and decided to pick up the phone and call the Panda Express down the street.
No one was the wiser because when we got the carryout boxes back to our apartment we quickly put the food in pots and woks to make it look like we had cooked it ourselves. We even threw corn starch in the carpet and intentionally spilled soy sauce and other ingredients on and around the stove to make it look good.
It worked and we avoided having to say sacré bleu.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices thinly-sliced smoked ham
4 T butter
1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2 t chicken bouillon
1 T cornstarch
1 cup half and half
3 T flour
2 t paprika
1 T fresh-cracked black pepper
1 pound sliced Baby Bella mushrooms OPTIONAL: white mushrooms or none at all.
1. Pound chicken breasts to about 1/2-inch thickness. Put a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each breast and roll the chicken to cover both and secure with a toothpick. If you beat the chciken too hard, like I usually do, you may need a couple more tooth picks.
2. Mix flour, pepper and paprika in a flat dish and coat the chicken. OPTIONAL: Add Panko for some crunch
3. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
4. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done.
5. Remove from heat. Take out the toothpicks, ALL OF THEM, and transfer the breasts to an over set at it's lowest setting to keep them warm. Recommend 180°.
6. Blend the cornstarch and half and half in a small bowl. Whisk slowly into a medium-high skillet stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.
7. Transfer chicken to serving plates and pour mushroom cream sauce over chicken.
Serve warm with mushroom rice and asparagus or green beans.
About 15 minutes
About 45 minutes