Start to Finish: About 30 minutes
Servings: 4 as a main dish
Difficulty Level: Easy
Chicken cordon bleu, which translates as blue ribbon chicken, is a dish with several different versions today; however, most preparations typically involve some variation of a chicken breast stuffed with cheese, and either ham or prosciutto; coated in breadcrumbs; and either deep-fried, or baked. Many recipes call for butterflying or pounding a chicken breast thin and then rolling up around the cheese and meat fillings, pinwheel-style. However, a more simple, but still delicious, chicken cordon bleu can be made by simply slicing a pocket in the breast meat and stuffing it with the fillings.
Recipe is adapted from: Canal House Cooking Volume No. Six: the Grocery Store; Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, 2011.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 slices Gruyere cheese, 3/4 to 1 ounce each
- 4 slices prosciutto, 3/4 to 1 ounce each
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Neutral-tasting, high-heat cooking oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil
Try to select at least thicker than average chicken breasts. Thicker breasts will make it easier to cut a long, deep pocket for stuffing without piercing through the chicken.
Using a small paring or boning knife, cut a long, deep pocket in the side of each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through the breast — or pierce through the top or bottom of the breast.
Fold the cheese to the approximate size of the pockets that you cut in the chicken breast. Wrap the folded cheese with the prosciutto.
Carefully slide a cheese and prosciutto packet into each pocket in the chicken breasts, and gently press each pocket back closed. The cheese and prosciutto packet should be placed completely inside the pocket in the chicken so that the chicken breast can be pressed back closed.
Set out three small bowls. In the first bowl, beat together eggs and milk. In the second, mix together flour, salt and pepper. In the final bowl, pour in the breadcrumbs.
Working 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour, dip into the egg mixture and then press both sides into the breadcrumbs to thoroughly coat. Place the breaded chicken on a platter and repeat breading process with the final 3 chicken pieces.
In a deep skillet or Dutch oven — wide enough to fit all 4 chicken breasts — pour enough cooking oil to reach about 1/2 to 1 inch in depth in the pan. Heat the oil to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The oil should be very hot, but not quite smoking.
Carefully — the hot oil will have a tendency to spatter — place chicken breasts in the pan and fry, 4 to 5 minutes each side, until well browned and cooked through.
A candy thermometer can be helpful in measuring the temperature of the cooking oil. If you have one, utilize it to get an accurate reading of the heat of the oil.
Just because the chicken is browned, does not mean it is thoroughly cooked through. As a best practice, always check for doneness using a good-quality meat thermometer. The USDA recommends a final internal temperature of 165 F for chicken breast.
You can substitute the prosciutto for other hams if you prefer. For best taste, however, try to select a ham of good quality such as Serrano, Bayonne or Smithfield.