I’ve had both Chicken and Veal Cordon Bleu in restaurants but always thought it was too complicated to cook....that is until I saw Nagi’s post a few days ago for Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu over at RecipeTin Eats. Her recipe sounded so good that I bookmarked it on my computer to give it a try.
Yesterday, I was looking through my bookmarked files looking for something else, and saw Nagi’s recipe again. I had already defrosted a package of organic chicken breasts and I new I had gluten free panko in my pantry.
I checked the list of ingredients and I had pretty much everything except her recipe calls for mayonnaise. I just ran out of mayo the other day and forgot to pick up some when I went to the grocery store over the weekend.
I opened my refrigerator and looked ... hoping to find inspiration for a substitute. Then I spied Greek yogurt. I use plain yogurt as a substitute for mayo and sour cream in other dishes, so I thought “why not”.
Also, her recipe uses fresh thyme, but I decided to use a dried French Thyme from Penzey’s that I have. It smells absolutely amazing. If you have a Pensey’s near you, I highly recommend going there and buying some of their spices. If you don’t have one near your, they’re also on-line.
The classic version calls for you to flatten the chicken breasts, layer the ham and cheese and then roll it up and secure with toothpicks. But Nagi’s version (and now mine) asks you to cut (carefully, mind you) a pocket in the chicken breasts and then tuck the ham and cheese inside (you may still need to secure with toothpicks depending on how big of a pocket you were able to cut and how much cheese and ham you stuffed into it).
They are topped with a mustard-yogurt mixture and gluten free panko crumbs and baked to golden perfection. It is served with a creamy Parmesan-Dijon sauce.
Well, all I can say is I am so HAPPY that I tried it. This easier chicken cordon bleu is just as satisfying and healthier (because it is baked instead of fried and don’t forget the yogurt instead of mayo) as the original without all the fuss of pounding, rolling and tooth-picking.
The chicken was super moist (even with substituting yogurt for the may) and the taste with the ham and melty gooeyness of the cheese was out of this world.
Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is whisking the sauce together while the chicken bakes. I had a problem getting my sauce to thicken so I had to had a bit more butter and flour.
One last note before I tell you the recipe. It takes about 30 minutes to bake, but this dish could easily be a weeknight meal with some preparation ahead of time (see Notes for all the details.)
NOTES; Make Ahead Instructions: Assemble the chicken, ham and cheese according to the recipe. Place prepared chicken in covered baking dish or storage container. Store the prepared yogurt-mustard mixture and gluten free panko bread crumbs in separate covered containers
When ready to bake, slather chicken with yogurt-mustard mixture and panko and bake according to the recipe. You may need to bake an extra 5-15 minutes since it was refrigerated prior to baking.
You can make the sauce while the casserole bakes or make it ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator. Reheat sauce over low heat whisking to recombine before serving.
Lightly adapted from Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu from Recipe Tin Eats
Yields: 2-4 servings
2 chicken breasts
4 slices swiss cheese
2 to 4 slices of ham, depending on size of ham slice (I used uncured ham)
3 Tablespoons 2% plain Greek Yogurt (I used Fage brand)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 Kosher teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce (makes about 1 cup)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons gluten free flour
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C)
Using a sharp knife, CAREFULLY create a pocket in each chicken breast.
Fold cheese and ham in half. Layer cheese, ham cheese inside each pocket. Close the pocket and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread mixture onto tops and sides of the chicken.
In another bowl, mix the panko, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and melted butter.
Sprinkle panko mixture over the chicken. Use your other hand to press breadcrumbs onto the top and sides of the chicken.
Spray with oil then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Rest for 5 minutes before serving with the Dijon-Thyme Cream Sauce.
Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce
In a small frying pan or sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add gluten free flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add half the milk and whisk until the flour is blended, about 1 minute.
Add remaining milk, mustard, garlic and cheese. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly, until sauce is thickened.
Remove from heat, stir in thyme. Add salt and pepper, to taste.