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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Despite its nice French name, no one is entirely sure that chicken cordon bleu originated in France. It is however a very popular dish in France and one you can make yourself with little fuss, following the easy method given here. And since it has a French name, of course it has a French story to enjoy along with it.

A Little History

Before we start cooking, I thought you might like to know what the cordon bleu was all about. You've probably heard of the cooking school by that name, but the actual cordon bleu had been around for centuries before the cooking school was started in the late 1800's.

During the religious wars that shook Europe for much of the 16th century, King Henry III initiated a special order of knights, known as L'Ordre du Saint-Esprit, to fight for Catholicism. To distinguish themselves the knights wore a Maltese cross hanging from a blue cord around their neck.

In later years, this same order of knights would gather for huge feasts, some of them cooked by accomplished chefs. Hence the blue cord become associated with excellence in cooking (as well as excellence in general) and this was reinforced when the Cordon Bleu cooking school opened it's doors in Paris.

An Easy Recipe

So now that you know a little story to entertain your diners with, let's get cooking.

Lots of Chicken Cordon Bleu recipes ask that you deep fat fry the rolled meat and cheese bundles, but that can be messy and add a lot of unnecessary calories. The dish is actually quite satisfying and delicious when baked. For those of you who miss the extra calories, you can make the shallot cream sauce to serve alongside it.

Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

  • 4 chicken breast filets, skinned
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices ham
  • 4 slices of cheese, such as Swiss
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter

 

Using a wooden meat hammer, pound the chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thick. Or place the breasts between pieces of wax paper or in a heavy plastic bag and use your rolling pin to flatten them.

Lay out the chicken breasts and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top each with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham. Roll the chicken up tightly.

Dredge the rolls in the beaten egg and then in the bread crumbs, coating them well. Use toothpicks to hold them together if you wish. Place the rolls in a greased baking pan, seam side down. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each roll.

Bake at 350°F for about 30 to 35 minutes.

Serves 4.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sauce

 

  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for 7 or 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and warm through. That's it, ready to serve.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

If you like these recipes, you'll find many more French chicken recipes on Easy French Food. Chicken Fricassee is another popular method for cooking poultry and this Moroccan Chicken Recipe, although not exactly French, is served so often in France, you might think it was. Enjoy.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 03:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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