Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu

This morning I woke up a little blue. It's Mother's Day and I had a dream about my mom last night. When I woke up I realized that she was still gone. Later I remembered the first time I cooked an actual meal. It was for my mom, probably for Mother's Day.
I made Chicken Cordon Bleu. I always ordered it when we went out to eat and wanted to make it at home. I remember my mom showing me how to pound the chicken so it was very thin.  I don't know how good the meal actually was but my mom acted as if it was the best meal she ever ate. She was so impressed that I was able to make it.

After the positive reviews from mom, this became my go-to meal as a teenager when I would cook. (Along with a mean bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese. All my friends said I made it the best.) I haven't made Chicken Cordon Bleu in years. I don't eat pork anymore but this recipe is tempting me back. I'll use turkey ham since my deli carries it. I imagine it would be outrageous with prosciutto! Here's the recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu.

P.S. The gardenia is for my mom. They were always her favorite.

Adapted Slightly from Rocco DiSpirito’s Lightened Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 tbs. chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
4 chicken cutlets (4 oz. each), pounded very thin
3 oz. thinly sliced lean ham, prosciutto or turkey ham
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 large egg whites

In small saucepan, whisk evaporated milk into cornstarch. Bring milk mixture to boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until mixture has thickened, about 1 minute. Then whisk cheese into sauce until melted and smooth. Whisk in chives and season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray ice cube tray with cooking spray and divide cheese sauce equally among 8 cube holes. Freeze sauce until hard, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place wire rack on foil-lined baking sheet. Set aside.

Lay chicken cutlets on work surface and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange ham slices over chicken. Top with a sprinkle of fresh thyme. Remove frozen cheese sauce cubes from trays, using a fork if necessary to pry them out. Place 2 cubes in center of each piece of chicken. Roll up chicken to encase filling, and secure each package with 2 toothpicks.

Put flour in shallow dish. Season with Goya light salt and pepper. Place panko bread crumbs in another shallow dish. In medium bowl, whip egg whites with whisk until they are extremely foamy but not holding peaks. Working in batches, dredge chicken bundles in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into egg whites to coat completely. Then dredge in bread crumbs to coat completely.

Place chicken bundles on wire rack. Spray chicken lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until breading is golden brown and crispy outside and cheese sauce is fully melted, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot. Goes great with asparagus and rice pilaf.

Makes 4 servings

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