With a name like “cordon bleu” one would think this dish originated in France, perhaps at the famed cooking school. I went looking through my cookbooks to find the recipe to have some history to write this essay. I found that it was absolutely NOT in any of my “French” or “professional” cookbooks!
The only book I have with the recipe is Joy of Cooking. And Joy calls it a classic. So Hubby and I went looking on the internet and found that it is not French, nor very old. It was first seen in print in the NY Times in 1967. The veal recipes date back to the 1940s. The origin is thought to be Swiss. We learn something new every day!
Hubby has always talked about this as one of his specialty dishes. He had made it once before in our time together but not for years. He doesn’t use a recipe, just goes with what is there. His other specialty dish is a stuffed meatloaf. He doesn’t use a recipe for that either.
This past weekend he had the opportunity to make this dish as we had two chicken breasts in the freezer and had gotten them out to thaw. These things are huge! He ends up using only one of the breasts for this dish. He pounds the meat after sandwiching it between two sheets of plastic wrap. And here you can see the flattened chicken breast next to its counterpart.
Hubby then layers this with sliced ham and sliced cheese. The “recipe” for cordon bleu would use Swiss or Gruyere but we have Provolone available and use that. He rolls this up jelly-roll style before placing it in the dish.
We have switched out the square pyrex dish for a smaller casserole pan for the cordon bleu. I cover the extra breast with foil and bake it along side. Hubby then beats an egg and pours that on top. I hand him the bread crumbs, and he chooses the spices he wants. He sprinkles on the crumbs and then the spices. All in between he is washing his hands and the cutting boards to wash away the chicken juice! He puts this in the oven at 350 F and we let this bake for about an hour. I check it with a thermometer to be sure it has reached 160 F internal temperature.
The cheese is melted nicely and the meat is tender. I served this with a green salad and we had a nice meal. And the bonus is that I also have a spare chicken breast already cooked to make chicken salad or pot pie or soup for later in the week.