My husband loves chicken cordon bleu, but I had yet to make it for him. So when I came across a recipe for it in the 75th Anniversary Edition of Joy of Cooking, I figured I give it a shot. And of course, I made a change or two. First, I used thawed, frozen chicken, so some of the chicken breasts I used were oddly shaped and were hard to get to stick together. To compensate, I just used toothpicks to hold the meat in place while I baked the chicken and then removed them before serving the chicken. Second, I didn't want to add a bunch of calories by frying, so I baked them instead (I've included both instructions below). This was a huge hit at our house, and is a recipe I will be revisiting.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 thin slices of ham or pruscuitto (I used sliced ham lunchmeat)
4 thin slices of Gruere of Swiss cheese (I used swiss)
1 c. dry bread crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs and left out the parsley)
1/4 c. minced parsley (or you could use 2 Tbl dried parsley)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large egg
1 tsp water
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp butter (I didn't use)
1-1/2 tsp olive oil (I didn't use)
Trim any fat or tendons off the chicken. Using one breast at a time, place between two sheets of waxed paper and pound with a mallet (smooth side) or a rolling pin until about 3/8 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Cover 1/2 the chicken breast with ham and cheese, leaving space around the edges. Fold the chicken over in half to cover the ham and cheese. Press the edges firmly together to seal. A 1-inch cut along the folded edge of the breast will help prevent the chicken packet from opening during cooking (or use toothpicks to secure meat). Repeat with remaining chicken.
In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs with parsley, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine/beat together the egg and water. Spread the flour on a plate. Press each side of the chicken packet with flour (shake off the excess), dip it in egg, and then coat with the bread crumbs (lightly press the crumbs into the chicken to help them adhere). Set aside on a plate until ready to cook.
Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and nut-brown. Add in oil and stir together. Place packets in the skillet and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes each. Drain on papertowels and serve immediately.
Place chicken on a greased baking pan. If you want, melt the butter and drizzle it over the chicken (this will help the breadcrumbs brown a little better, but it tastes fine without it). Bake at 375*F for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve.