I have to be honest, I did not cook this on our holiday. It was one of the many meals I cooked and photographer before coming on holiday, because let’s be honest, there is no way I’m going to stuff and roll chicken breasts for 10 people!! But this IS the perfect thing to wow your friends and family should you feel the need to impress anyone this Festive Season.
I’ve loved Chicken Cordon Bleu since I was a little girl. I used to ALWAYS order it in restaurants just so I could say “bleuuuu” (pronounced Bluhhh). But I also loved how cutting into the crisp outer of the chicken resulted in a oozy, gooey, cheesy center, every time! It was glorious.
The classic way of making Chicken Cordon Bleu includes flattened chicken breasts stuffed with ham and cheese, then breaded and fried. And although there is nothing wrong with this way of doing it, I sometimes add a few different ingredients to make it a bit more interesting. I once had Cordon Bleu at a small little French restaurant (although it’s speculated that Cordon Bleu is not French at all, rather an American version of something similar eaten in Austria) and the chef had stuffed the chicken with Roquefort and Parma ham. It was out of this world delicious and that is a REAL show stopper.
But for this version, I just added some steamed baby spinach leaves to the Gruyere and ham. I also only fried the chicken for about 2 minutes before popping them into the oven to cook further to cut down on some of the calories. I heated the oil until it was VERY hot and then just fried the chicken until they were nice and brown. This way less oil is absorbed but I still got the crunch and colour I so desired.
And my darling husband would divorce me if I didn’t serve this with his absolute favorite mushroom sauce (the recipe of which I’ll share later this week). I also served this with really yummy butternut & sweet potato mash and steamed broccoli. If you wanted to make this ahead, you can make the chicken ahead and just fry and bake when you are ready to eat. I’m sure you could actually fry the chicken and just pop them on a baking tray ready for the oven but I can’t guarantee it will still be as crunchy on the outside.
4 large chicken breasts, deboned and skin removed
4-8 slices of ham (depending on the size)
2 cups steamed spinach
4-8 slices Mozzarella
1 cup flour seasoned with salt & pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs
- First of all, you need to flatten your chicken. I find it best to slice the chicken horizontally in half without cutting all the way through when flattening. Place your left hand (if you’re right handed) on the chicken breast and slowly move through the chicken breast with a sharp knife until you’ve butterflied the breast. Remember not to cut all the way through. If you are scared of doing this, you can flatten the entire chicken breast but it’s a bit harder that way.
- Now, place your chicken breast in between 2 pieces of clingwrap and pound it with anything you can get your hands on (sometimes I want it to be my husbands head but he is stronger than me so I use a rolling pin instead). Flatten the breast until it’s about 1/2 a cm thick. Set aside.
- After steaming the spinach, allow it to cool completely and then lay them out and pat them dry with some kitchen towel.
- Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs all in separate bowls suitable for dipping and covering. ( For the breadcrumbs and flour a normal dinner plate would also work)
- Heat about 2cm of oil in a frying pan and pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
- Now take your chicken breast and place a piece of ham (or 2 if the ham slices are smaller), followed by some Spinach leaves on top. Season the spinach and then place the mozzarella on top. Now carefully roll the chicken breast up.
- Dip the chicken in the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
- Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil (seam side down) and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a suitable oven dish and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Personally I like mine with just a squeeze of lemon but you could serve it with any sauce of your choice.