Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Cream Sauce

I have all of these wonderful memories of eating chicken cordon bleu with my sister. Every Sunday hundreds of BYU college students would flock to a huge eatery called “the Cannon Center. And every other Sunday, it would serve the coveted chicken cordon bleu. Oh how we loved it. No line was ever too long for chicken cordon bleu.

Looking back, I realize that this dish that we hopelessly craved was prepackaged, frozen, mass produced chicken cordon bleu. Don't get me wrong. It was really good. But what I'm about to share blows it out of the water. It's perfectly seasoned and oozing with gooey cheese.

This lovely recipe that I have made for several years now, was given to me by my wonderful former roommate Lauren. Back during my sophomore year in college I lived a crazy life in a house with 6 girls. We were usually out and about studying and dating during the week, but on the weekends we would have roommate dinner. It was a special occasion that brought us together. And on one of those occasions, Lauren made chicken cordon bleu. I was hooked from that time on!

It is an awesome chicken dish that is both hearty and elegant. It goes with many sides, but I especially love it with garlic mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. This time I made roasted asparagus and it was wonderful. But that's for another post!

When we parted after sophomore year, one of my roommates Emily made us a darling book that included some of the recipes that we made for roommate dinner. I use it all the time! Oh look! There we are. :)

I slightly adapted this recipe from the original and added a luscious parmesan sauce that complements it beautifully! 

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Cream Sauce

For the chicken:
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5-2lbs) I usually get three big breasts and cut them in half horizontally
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 thin slices ham (I use deli meat)
  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 6 Tbsp butter
For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 3/4 C half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Splash of cooking wine
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Start by cutting your three chicken breasts in half horizontally if they're thick. You can also just buy 6 thin chicken breasts. Then get out your trusty meat tenderizer and pound until fairly thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Mix breadcrumbs and butter in shallow bowl and dip each chicken piece in breadcrumb mix until well coated.

Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on each breast. Roll up each breast as tightly as possible and use a toothpick or two to secure.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Then saute the garlic for a minute or two. Add a splash of wine and watch it fizz up a bit! Let it simmer for another 1-2 minutes.

Whisk together your half and half with the cornstarch. After it is combined, slowly pour in the pan and mix until smooth.

Turn the heat up to medium and continue stirring for a few minutes until thickened. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and cook until melted. Removed from heat.

Drizzle the sauce over the breasts just before serving or serve in a separate bowl to accommodate different preferences for sauce. Gradon and I like A LOT!
Hope everyone is enjoying the first signs of spring! Although it did snow here in Cville yesterday! It was so beautiful. University Gardens was blanketed in it.
Also of note, today is Super Tuesday! Gradon and I were super pumped to get to the polls and do our civic duty! And we cozied up to Mr. Jefferson a bit while we were in Alumni Hall.
I also opened up my very first birthday present from my very thoughtful and cute mother in-law. She's the greatest! And she knows what I love. 

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