My hubby just loves Chicken Cordon Bleu, but the traditional way of making it is labor-intensive, requiring you to cut and pound out chicken breasts, roll them with ham and cheese, coat each roll in flour, then beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs, and then frying them. I'm exhausted just typing all that out, much less actually doing it, so I came up with a lazy version.
If you were inviting the boss over for dinner, by all means, whip out the meat mallet and breading station, but this is good enough, and easy enough, to make for a family weeknight dinner.
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials
2 chicken breasts
8 slices of deli ham
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs (you can use plain or Italian)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 teasp kosher salt
1/4 teasp garlic powder
1/4 teasp ground black pepper
cooking oil, about 2 spoons, or cooking spray
large roasting pan that can fit all the chicken (metal is preferred)
oven that can also broil
microwave, only used for melting the butter
very sharp fillet knife
*optional but helpful: meat thermometer
Step 2: Butter the Panko
Melt the spoon of butter in the microwave (about 30 sec) and add the panko.
Stir well to combine and set aside.
*If you don't have a microwave, you can melt butter on the stove, or use oil instead.
Step 3: Preheat Your Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
Step 4: Oil the Pan
Pour about a tablespoon of oil into the large roasting pan and spread to coat.
You can also give a good coat with cooking spray.
Step 5: Mix Up the Seasoning
Mix the 1/4 teasp of salt, garlic powder, and ground black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Step 6: Split the Chicken Breasts
This is the toughest part: splitting the chicken into thinner halves by cutting it open like a book.
Go slow, and aim for evenness. Make sure your knife is sharp!
Cut all the way through to make 2 separate pieces. Repeat with the other breast.
For more help, you can check out this site for "How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast.
Step 7: Season and Oil Chicken
Use the mix of salt, pepper, and garlic powder from earlier to sprinkle on the chicken. The ham and cheese will add plenty of salt to the final dish, so you might not want to use the whole thing. Any leftover seasoning can be saved for another use if you didn't touch it with the "raw chicken hand".
Drizzle on another spoon of oil onto the chicken breasts and pat around to coat.
Step 8: Bake Until Just Cooked Through
Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the juices run clear if you cut into the thickest part. If you use a meat thermometer, it should read around 160 °F. You don't want it to be too "done" at this point, because it will be spending a few more minutes in the oven, and might get too dry.
Step 9: Turn Your Oven to BROIL
When your chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and turn on the BROILER before continuing.
Step 10: Layer Ham and Cheese
Cover the chicken breast with ham and cheese.
I used 2 pieces of ham per piece of chicken, but you can use more or less, depending on the quality of your ham.
You can just slap on the Swiss, but I like to tear it and make it fit on the chicken breast, Tetris-style, to make sure all of it is covered.
Step 11: Sprinkle With Panko
Cover the cheese with the buttered panko.
Step 12: Broil Until Panko Is Browned
Throw the whole thing back in the oven, right under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, just until the the panko is nicely browned.
Step 13: Ta-Da! Dinner Is Served!
Serve with some steamed veggies and/or buttered noodles, and you've got dinner! Or in my case, dinner and 2 work lunches.
Hope this was clear and helpful, and encourages someone to try a new dish! Happy eating!