Our Recipe for Crispy, Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu
If you love schnitzel, you need this cordon bleu
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This month we’re focusing on you, our Kitchen Stories community—giving you the recipes you’re really craving this spring, by going straight to the source! We gave you a choice of five different chicken recipes, you voted, and the winner is... Chicken cordon bleu! A Swiss (yes, Swiss!) classic which basically takes the idea of a schnitzel and one-ups it by filling it first with ham and cheese before coating it in breadcrumbs and frying to melty-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside perfection.
So what is chicken cordon bleu and where does it come from?
Chicken cordon bleu was an early culinary entrant into my life thanks to the convenience of pre-packaged, frozen creations (and chicken kievs, another filled and rolled chicken concoction) that served as an after-school “snack” to tide me over until dinner throughout my high school years. If you aren’t already familiar with it, allow me to elaborate.
Cordon bleu is French for “blue ribbon” and stems from a specific light blue ribbon worn by the highest order of knighthood in France, L'Ordre des Chevaliers du Satin-Espirit or the Order of the Holy Spirit. In culinary terms, according to the Food Timeline, cordon bleu as we know it today is a more recent culinary creation from the 1960s. While something like a cordon bleu almost certainly existed before that time, what we’ve come to know and agree on in its current form is a Swiss recipe that takes a cutlet (veal, pork, chicken, or even beef) wraps it around another meat (typically ham) and cheese, before being rolled, breaded, and fried (or baked).
I cannot claim to be a cordon bleu-making expert (although I did develop this “cordon bleu-style” recipe), so I turned to our chef Christian to ask, “What does one need to know when making a cordon bleu?” His take? Even if you’re making it with eggplant instead of chicken, make sure you use really nice ham and good cheese. Don’t go for the pre-packaged stuff, instead visit your butcher counter and get nice thick slices of ham and really nice slightly aged gouda or Swiss cheese. Other than that? Just follow our recipe and you’re golden!
What can you serve with chicken cordon bleu?
When it comes to serving a cordon bleu, there are tons of options you can choose from to round out your meal. Classic choices are simply prepared vegetables, like green beans or mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower. Christian’s take makes a simple, saucy ragout of in season white asparagus, but if you can’t find white asparagus, don’t like it, or want to make this dish when it’s not in season, swap it out for something else—really any veg will do—and enjoy!
Published on May 3, 2021