If you've been reading the blog you know that I look to the locals for inspiration. In this case, I decided to make it with local chèvre (from Fraga Farms) instead of Swiss cheese, and I substituted the sliced ham with uncured bacon. I also ditched the bread crumbs and used ground hazelnuts instead of wheat flour. I topped it with a simple Dijon and mayonnaise sauce. If you haven't tried that, you should. It's a little tangy and so easy to make that it might become your go-to sauce for fish and poultry. I think the best part is that it's not fried and still, the skinless, boneless chicken breasts come out of the oven juicy and tender.
If you have a budding cook in the house, try this one. It's easy to make, much healthier than traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu and it looks so special that it instills confidence.
Yield: Serves 4
Time: 1 hour
4 thin cut skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup finely ground, toasted, hazelnuts (or almond meal)
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp half-and-half
4 oz chèvre
1 tbsp Greek yogurt (I used Nancy's organic)
2 green onions, chopped
2 slices uncured bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tsp Herbs of Provence
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the filling in a small mixing bowl. You can do this ahead and refrigerate if you prefer, but it's not really necessary. Place chèvre, yogurt, green onions, pepper and Herbs of Provence in a bowl. Mix to incorporate all ingredients, then add the bacon and mix one last time.
Before starting the chicken, get all of your ingredients out and ready to be used. The chicken gets messy and there's nothing like having to wash up because you forgot to get the toothpicks!
Place the chicken breasts on a board and cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper. With the flat side of a meat pounder, gently pound the chicken to about 1/4 inch thick all over.
Don't be too aggressive here, you want to avoid making holes in the meat. On the larger (wider) end of the chicken breast, place 1/4 of the filling. Wrap the sides around the filling and start rolling it (if you've ever gone camping, think of a sleeping bag). When it's rolled up, secure it with a toothpick (remove after it's cooked).
Rolling these rarely works perfectly, so do the best you can. The idea is to keep the filling inside the chicken. If the sides are left open the filling will melt and end up in the baking dish!
Lightly beat the egg and half-and-half and pour into a shallow bowl.
Place the ground nuts in another shallow bowl.
Coat the bottom of the baking dish with oil. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then in the nut coating and place in baking dish.
Bake approximately 40 minutes.
Make the sauce about 10 minutes before serving. In a small saucepan on low, heat mayonnaise, Dijon and milk. Stir frequently with a small whisk. You may prefer thicker, or thinner sauce. If so, adjust the amount of milk you add.
When the chicken is done (the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear), remove from the pan, remove the toothpicks, and serve with sauce.
It's not necessary to slice the chicken. In fact, I don't usually do that, but I wanted you to see the inside.