I am super excited about this weeks blog. Blue ribbon chicken or Chicken cordon blue has been a long time favorite dish of mine and it was one of the first recipes that I wanted to learn how to do because it sounds so fancy. So I am going to call this weeks recipe, Alex’s Fancy Blue Ribbon Chicken.
Now since I have been so enamored with this recipe I decided to do a little background research and found out some interesting things about this surprisingly American Dish.
First the dish parallels many other intercontinental recipes called “Roulades “ where different types of meat are rolled up with other ingredients and often fried. Mostly this recipe mimics Chicken Kiev or a German schnitzel and right off the bat I can say that the secret of this dish is in the variations that you can do with the ingredients. Different versions use veal a lot of the times and along with that you can just go absolutely crazy with your choice of cheeses.
Mystery surrounds the origin of the name “Cordon Blue” as it lends itself to be associated with the famous school by the same name. This is in fact not true. Chicken Cordon Blue first appeared in 1960 America and was served as a high priced entree. It is my hypothesis that someone tied this American culinary innovation to the name in order to create both recognition as well as Value. I mean what sounds better, Blue Ribbon Chicken or Chicken Cordon Bleu! Once I think about it, it was the name that first brought me to this dish.
But enough of all this History and stuff! Lets get down to some cooking. Again I want to remind you that I came to this recipe because it sounded so fancy and professional but after cooking it I was amazed at how simple it actually was and then kind of felt ripped off. Not in a bad way mind you, just in that I thought it would have been more of a challenge. After I made it once, I whipped it up for the rest of the week. Which goes to show that when it comes to being a Common Chef, you can once again make your own dishes as simple or as complicated as you like.
So for this recipe I took a more traditional approach with its preparation. After mastering the fundamentals I then moved on to experimenting with different ingredients.
So to start things off you need:
- Boneless, skinless half chicken breasts (1-4 pounds)
- Bacon,Ham,Prosciutto (your choice and sliced thinly)
- Swiss,Gouda,Havarti,Provolone cheese (again your choice and grated or sliced)
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used unseasoned)
- ¼ cup fresh Parsley (minced)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- ¼ cup flour
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
As I stated earlier the secret of this dish is the variations that one can choice when it comes to the main ingredients. First thing that pops in to my mind is that one may choose to marinate the chicken breasts. Be careful though as a highly acidic marinade may break down the meat too much.
Once you have trimmed the fat off of the breast now its one of those times that we as men always look forward to when it comes to cooking. Its time to beat the meat….or tenderize the meat rather. Put the chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper or in a zip lock bag even and pound the breasts gently with a meat tenderizer or mallet (I used an empty wine bottle I had handy). Again don’t go all caveman crazy with this but make sure you give it a good whack!
Once the breasts are about 3/8 inches thick remove from paper and season. After that take your choice of thinly sliced deli meat and cover only half of the chicken breast. Next take your choice of cheese weather sliced or grated and place on top the meat on the half of the chicken breast. Once that is done take and fold the uncovered half of the chicken breast over top the covered half and press the edges together to seal. Now for another cool man moment, take a sharp knife and cut a 1/8 inch slice along the folded edge of the chicken breast. This cut will keep the chicken folded together as it cooks.
In a pan or shallow bowl mix together your breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. In another bowl mix together your egg and water, whisking them. On a large plate spread out your flour. Once this is done it time to get messy!
Individually take each folded chicken breast and place both sides into the flour. Once both sides are covered to your liking, dip each one into the egg and water mixture and then finally into the breadcrumbs. Take time to make sure that the breadcrumbs stick to the breast and feel free to use your fingers to pat some more breadcrumbs on to those hard to reach places.
In a heavy skillet melt down your 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter keeping a close eye on this as nothing is worse then burnt butter. Add in the Olive oil and mix thoroughly. Once the the skillet has come up in heat enough place the folded chicken breasts in to the skillet. Cook each Chicken breast about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Use tongs to hold them together as you turn them over.
Keep this up until the breasts have browned to perfection and place on a dry paper towel when finally removing them from the skillet. Place it along with other vegetables or cover it with a nice sauce and you are ready to go!
So there you have it, a really fun recipe especially for those common chefs that like to use gadgets in the kitchen. Again as you can see there can be endless variations to this meal just by changing up some key ingredients. Try a Asian marinated chicken, with some smoked provolone and an apple wood smoked bacon!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and remember to have fun with your cooking. Send me comments and your own variations to this recipe.
Till next time, Alex W.