You ever just crave something that you know is crazy bad for you, but you just HAVE to scratch the itch?
Yeah, me too.
So I created this mainly because I like those cheap, breaded, pretty-bad-for-you chicken cordon bleu frozen dinners. And, while I could go buy some and use it as a “cheat” meal, I’m pretty sure I would just continue this bad habit and have more cheat meals than is healthy. (This is not for everyone… I just know myself well enough. I usually save cheat meals for special occasions, going over to someone else’s house for dinner, going out to eat, traveling, etc.)
I knew I was doing this a little bit different than the conventional cordon bleu recipe … I was putting the cheese on the OUTSIDE instead of in the chicken breast. So, in order to defend the “original” way of making this dish, I titled it with my own name, just so we understand the difference… however, as it turns out, it seems to be up for debate what chicken cordon bleu “originally” was!
The recipe appeared in U.S. newspapers in the 1960s, and there’s quite a bit of indication that it didn’t even originate in France, but America, as its attempt to mimic popular French dishes that incorporate stuffing one meat with another filling. (Another great example of Americanizing food? Look at many popular pizza or Italian restaurant choices, then go visit Italy.) And, contrary to any sort of “word” connection, there is no origination of this recipe from something at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking schools in France (if you’re up on your food history/gastronomy).
So, as it turns out, I can pretty much make this dish WHATEVER I want because I’m not really dishonoring some great classic piece!
To get this dish started properly, you’ll need to read up on my instructions on stuffing a chicken breast. You can find the instructions here. If you have another (or better!) method for stuffing a chicken breast, knock yourself out. You do not have to use my method of stuffing for this dish to work!
Last note… I recommend that one chicken breast serves two people. The logic is two-fold:
A) You’re getting more meat in as it’s a LARGE breast, and you’re stuffing it with ham
B) Americans tend to over-do the meat thing. One serving of meat is the size of your fist. (Men need a little bit more than women, due to nutritional requirements.) I don’t have the source for this information, just recalling it off the top of my head. I did a quick google search on the topic, though, and you can find scores of sources saying the same thing. (Point B.1.: Quality meat is also incredibly expensive. So we hold very true to one serving of meat per meal as to keep our grocery costs down.)
So needless to say, this is instructions for one breast, serving two people.
For the meat:
Large, plump chicken breasts
Precooked ham – one ounce per chicken breast is usually enough
Almond Meal/Sprouted Flour (either will work) – you’ll need about 1/4 cup for one breast
For the sauce:
1.5 cups of shredded cheese, I recommend super-sharp cheddar
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. prepared spicy mustard
Sprinkle of pepper
Sprinkle of nutmeg
2 tsp Sprouted flour, rice flour, tapioca/arrowroot (you’re using it as a thickener)
1 tbl Butter (preferably grass-fed for optimal nutrition)
dash of parsley
Oven-safe dish for roasting breasts
Small pan for making sauce
Preheat the over to 425*.
Go over to this page and follow the instructions for how to cut and stuff. You are going to stuff it with all that cooked ham (as pictured in the other post).
You’re going to want to bread it – so now is when you’ll throw your almond meal or sprouted flour in your dish for dredging. Very carefully roll the stuffed chicken breasts in your meal/flour.
Once it’s thoroughly covered, move “breaded” stuffed breast to your tray for baking.
If you’re making more than one stuffed chicken breast, repeat the process.
Once all your chicken breasts are stuffed and breaded, cover your dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes at 425*.
While this is cooking, shred up your sharp cheddar cheese.
After the first “set” of 15 minutes, you’ll want to turn the breasts over, uncover, and put in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Now you can start working on your cheese sauce! (And let’s be real… this is what we’re really want!)
Warm your milk to almost boiling. Once it’s almost boiling, turn the heat down as low as it will go. Whisk your mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and sprouted flour/arrowroot/tapioca/rice flour. Make sure there are no lumps!
Slowly stir in your shredded cheese. Keep stirring.
Stir some more. You’ll see that your ingredients are combining well (keep that heat on low!) and when you bring your spoon up, it’ll be like a really thick sauce, not too stringy. If you notice it’s starting to become “stringy,” go ahead and turn the heat off. Just remember to stir it every so often.
About this time, it’ll be time to take those chicken breasts out of the oven!
Your chicken breasts will look something like this:
Stir your cheese sauce some more.
Carefully take the toothpicks out just as soon as you can bear touching the chicken.
Plate your chicken and smother those chickens with your cheese sauce. Top with a dash of dried parsley.
And now, you can go guzzle. Enjoy that cheesy chicken cordon bleu!