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Cordon Bleu is one of those dishes that instantly takes me back to my childhood days. My family spent all their vacations up in Northern Wisconsin at my grandparents cottage on Rest Lake. We enjoyed summers frolicking in the water and digging never-ending holes to China, and winters planting our tip-ups on the iced over lake in the hopes of catching that one lucky fish. I still remember venturing out on the boat one warm summer morning with my grandfather on a hunt for muskies; one of the biggest and baddest lake fish there is, and the exact moment that one actually started to follow my line towards the boat. I began to reel faster and faster; there was no way I was going to let that fish actually catch my line!
When we arrived home from our fishing expedition, my grandmother had put together a lunch for us of cordon bleu with mushroom sauce. She was a big fan of the Schwan man (still is) and would always have a pack of their cordon bleu on hand. Oh how I loved those chicken filled treats. I used to look forward to visiting my grandma Mimi just so I could get my hands on one of them.
Today my grandmother lives in Arizona and we don’t get out to visit her and my grandfather nearly as much as we’d like. My grandfather’s 87th birthday was a few weeks back and it reminded me of those younger times up at the cottage. This dish is a way to bring back those cherished moments and to say thank you to my grandparents for all the wonderful memories and love they continue to pour over me to this day.
Begin by slicing a pocket into your chicken breasts. You want it to be big enough to hold the fillings, but not so big that you pop out on the other end. Load it up with some ham and cheese.
Now you’ll close it up using either toothpicks or kitchen twine.
In a bowl, mix together a some panko bread crumbs and a spoonful of tarragon. Can I just say that tarragon is one of my all time favorite herbs? So, so good.
Once it’s mixed up, go ahead and roll your chicken around in it.
In a large pan, heat up a little oil on medium high heat and pop your breasts in, letting them cook for a minute or two on each side. Remove them from the pan and place them in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear.
While the chicken is cooking, grab up a clean pan and melt a little butter over medium heat. Add in a few mushrooms, onions, garlic and herbs and saute them up.
Once they’re good and cooked, stir in a little flour to coat the mixture. Then add in some broth and some white wine.
Let the sauce heat back up and thicken. Remove it from the heat and swirl in a little half and half and parsley (use fresh if you’ve got it).
Pull your cooked chicken out of the oven, ladle some of your mushroom sauce over the top and celebrate a childhood memory of your own.
What food reminds you of a treasured moment from your childhood?
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Total Time: 1 Hour
For the Chicken:
4 Chicken Breasts
1/4 Pound Gruyere Cheese, Sliced
4 Ounces Ham (I used Pancetta)
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tsp Tarragon
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
For the Mushroom Sauce:
2 Tbsp Butter
5 Ounces Mushrooms, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Onion, Chopped
1/2 tsp Tarragon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Flour
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Half & Half
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Slice the chicken breast down the middle to form a pocket in the chicken. Add in your cheese slices and ham.
Close chicken up with either toothpicks or kitchen twine.
Mix together the panko and the tarragon. Roll the breasts in the mixture.
Heat a large pan on medium high heat and add in the oil. When the oil is heated, add in your breasts and cook for a minute or two on each side.
Place breasts in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear.
While chicken is cooking, grab up a large saute pan, add the butter and melt it on medium heat.
Add in the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two.
Add in the garlic, onion, tarragon, and salt and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in the flour and stir to coat.
Add in the wine and chicken broth and allow the sauce to heat back up and thicken.
Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the half & half and fresh parsley. Add additional salt if needed.
Pour over cordon bleu and serve.