So I made this super delicious stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe last week (the real recipe post coming soon!) and as I was preparing it, I realize that it was going to be a reeeeaaaaalllly long post, because I first needed to explain how to butterfly-cut and stuff a chicken breast. Now, if you already know how to do this, you and entirely ready to make the Chicken Cordon Bleu! If not, read this post first, and test out your method!
I don’t claim to get this right 100% of the time… but the beauty lies in the toothpick! (You’ll see why once you finish reading!) It helps if you pick really large chicken breasts.
Want to test this BEFORE my recipe is posted? You can try the following combinations:
GREEK: spinach, feta, kalamata olives
ITALIAN 1: mozzarella, prosciutto
ITALIAN 2: Pesto, parmesan
ITALIAN 3: spinach and ricotta
AMERICANA: shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon
My only caution is this: the more turns-to-runny-liquid-stuffing you use, the more you need to try to REALLY seal up the breast when you’re done. For example: ricotta is going to try to squeeze out of the holes you leave open; bacon will stay put and doesn’t require as much sealing.
Also, if you are going to use a meat as part of your stuff, cook that ahead of time. Don’t stuff the chicken with uncooked meat!
TOOLS (with links to the tools I use or recommend):
Assuming you’re going to stuff it and you’re not just practicing, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425*.
Cut your chicken breast in half like you were going to cut a chunk of bread or roll for a sandwich BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH! Leave them attached. You have basically made two really thin slices of chicken breast that’s still “connected” in the middle.. If you do not trust yourself to do this, you can do the next steps… but I’m telling you… it’s alot easier to thin-out a breast if you’ve cut it first.
Spread the breast out like you were going to finish making that sandwich. This is going to look similar to a popular sub-sandwich place that makes sandwiches as you order… you’ve done basically the same process they do on their bread.
It should look something like this:
(See how there’s still a connection in the middle?)
After it’s spread, put a piece of plastic wrap under and over the chicken breast on your cutting board.
Now you get to hammer the heck out of your chicken breast. (Might this dish be good on a frustrating day? Maybe! :) )
You want this as thin as you can make it without going THROUGH the breast. Practicing helps, but you won’t always get it right, and that’s ok! (Toothpicks, which you have to use anyway, help with mistakes!) I’ve been doing this for years, and sometimes I get it too thin.
Try to get it around 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thin. The thinner you can manage the easier it will be to roll up the breast.
(Do you see my tiny gap in the middle? That comes from hammering too much! I basically hammered the original cut I made.)
Now you get to stuff it! Below you’ll see I’m stuffing with pasture raised (pre-cooked) ham slices.
You want to leave about 1/2″-1″ edge around the whole breast. This is why I earlier recommended to go with BIG chicken breasts if possible.
Now, you need to get your pile of toothpicks ready. Now, just like you’d roll a burrito, roll the chicken breast over your stuffing. Use the toothpicks to hold it in place.
Then, go around the breast with more toothpicks to close up any holes, or gaps from over-hammering.
And voila! it’s ready to go in the oven, at 425*!
If you’re going to bread it, you’ll do that after you toothpick the chicken breast.
Cook it for 30 minutes: for 15 minutes, in a dish covered with aluminum foil – the take it out, flip it over, and cook it for the remaining 15 minutes uncovered.
Here’s a picture of my finished and stuffed chicken cordon bleu:
I look forward to your comments and questions if this works for you!!