Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring I'm Cookin' in My Kictchen

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Chicken Cordon Bleu


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor

Today's Tuesday Tutor: I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen
Selected Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu
My tutor today is my friend Jenn from the creative I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen blog - and Jenn really is cooking in her kitchen. Every week I look forward to discovering real food and real recipes Jenn is cooking up for her loved ones. These aren't "fad" recipes using the latest buzz-ingredient or crazy outrageous creations designed to garner shock and awe - I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen serves up favorites I could make and eat every night.

If you follow the Made with Love Mondays series, you will recognize Jenn as an active contributor to the series - and she is one of the nicest and most down-to-earth bloggers I've met over the past 9 months. You'll discover delicious food from I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen, but even better you'll make friends with a wonderful blogger.

About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "I'll never forget the first time I made my first whole chicken, I was 19 or 20. I unwrapped the bird, had it in the sink, held it up by the wings, stared at it confused...and called my mom. She said, "You have to rinse the entire bird Jenn, inside & out and pull out the gizzards." I said, "The what?...where are they?" Mom said, "Well, they'll be either in the body or the butt." Um, yea...here's me..."The WHAT?", "What the H#*% are they doing in there???"
     
  2. "My mom has always said that "I have a sense of humor only I find funny." My response was usually "Well, at least I'm always cracking myself up!" Hardy Har Har...But, that's not entirely true, we laugh together so hard sometimes, tears stream down our cheeks and we have to say, "Stop! Stop! It hurts!" I love my mom dearly : )"
     
  3. "I think it is a great joy to have someone in our lives we can truly call our best friend. Mine traveled with me across the United States, we watched movies together, comforted each other, and when he was in a terrible car accident, I never thought for one second to not be there for him during his year of recovery. The scars were always there, and his legs were never the same but he was always active and very happy. There aren't too many opportunities out there to really receive unconditional love, and that was what I got from him. It was a joy to be his buddy right up till the very end when he sadly passed from liver failure, his name was Smokey, and I still miss him every day."
     
  4. "I love to cook...and I love seeing that what I have made, brings some joy to who I am sharing it with. I have very much enjoyed starting and continuing to work with my blog and meeting fine folks out there such as the gentleman that has invited me to visit with you here today, Javelin Warrior. It is in the joy of sharing with others that truly brings happiness to what I enjoy doing with my days."
     
  5. "I like to be silly, I like to laugh, I like to make funny faces, I like people with gentle spirits and good senses of humor. I like the smell of fresh cut grass, flowers, campfires and fresh cut wood. I love being out in nature as much as I enjoy walking through city streets. I love the simple things in life and each day try to find some joy in what it brings to me."
Author's Photo

I chose this recipe because I believe it perfectly captures the kind of delicious but down-home food Jenn creates and shares each week. And to be fair, I also selected the recipe because I've never made chicken cordon bleu - although I love the flavors and textures - who wouldn't love breaded chicken stuffed with cheese and ham?

The best part about Jenn's recipe is how moist and juice the chicken turns out. If you've ever had over-cooked dried-out stuffed chicken breasts, you know the sad disappointment to your taste buds and chewy dryness no amount of cheese or ham can rectify. But Jenn's stuffed chicken remains moist and flavorful, even after pan-frying and oven-finishing. So moist, I literally moaned when I took my first bite. No exaggeration - an audible moan.

Original recipe courtesy of I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen

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If you're really efficient, this recipe takes just over 1 hour to make. You have 3 basic batch jobs
with this recipe: 1) Prep your ingredients 2) Stuff and Bread the chicken 3) Cook the chicken
I started by organizing everything - and which chopping fresh parsley for the breadcrumbs

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I used two shallow quiche dishes for my breadcrumbs and dusting flour. I used homemade
multigrain bread to make my breadcrumbs. Make sure to season both breadcrumbs and flour
with generous amounts of salt and cracked black pepper

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For the egg wash, I added about 1/3 cup of milk to the egg and beat both together until well combined
Use a large shallow dish to make it easier to dip the flattened chicken breasts

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I used slices of Swiss cheese of a much larger block of cheese, thus I needed about 2 thin slices
to stuff each chicken breast. If you are using pre-sliced deli cheese, you will probably only
need 1 slice per chicken breast

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In general, I hate deli meats, but this was the best I could find with no preservatives and low in fat

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Rather than using chipped ham, I chipped the deli meat using a food processor.
I used about 6 slices of deli meat

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Once everything is else is prepped, move on to the chicken. Rinse and dry the chicken breasts,
then place between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Pound, pound, pound until the breasts are flattened.
I flattened 4 chicken breasts, 2 at a time, using my stick rolling pin. If you don't have a pin or
meat mallet, you could also use a flat bottomed pan with a sturdy handle suitable for swinging the pan

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A few minutes later, flattened chicken. And some disturbed apartment neighbors ;)

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Four chicken breasts, flattened. I'm now ready for the stuffing and breading job

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Everything is lined up in the order of the breading to make life easy

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I also used a sheet of waxed paper as a work surface for stuffing the chicken

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Make sure to season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper before stuffing

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Add the chopped ham (about 2-3 Tablespoons)

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Add the Swiss cheese (and try to keep a bit of an edge of exposed chicken to make it easier
to seal the chicken together around the filling

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Wrap the chicken around the filling and seal by pressing the chicken together as shown.
Jenn suggests using toothpicks or string to hold the packages together if they refuse to
stay sealed to your satisfaction

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For the breading, start by coating the chicken in flour. Be thorough and coat every exposed surface

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Then dip all edges of the chicken in egg wash

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And finally coat the chicken in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure to coat all exposed edges

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When you're finished, you will arrive at something resembling the above. Now go wash your hands =)

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Now you're ready to pan-fry the chicken to crisp-up the breading. I used a combination of olive
oil and butter - about 3 Tablespoons of each. Make sure you get the oil nice and hot before
adding the chicken to the pan or you will end up with soggy (rather than crispy) breadcrumbs.
While the oil heats, preheat the oven to 300F

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You want a good sizzle when you add the chicken to the pan. Don't over-crowd the chicken or
the oil won't stay hot enough to crisp the breading and you'll end up steaming instead of
frying the bread crumbs. I cooked the first 3 chicken packages together, then the final package
separately while the first 3 rested.

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When you have a healthy crispy brown color on one side, turn the chicken. My breadcrumbs
were pretty dark (as they were multigrain), so my chicken looks almost burned, but it still
tasted delicious. You will want to turn down the heat in the pan if the oil starts to splatter

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Frying off the final chicken package...

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Now you're ready to bake the packages in the oven to finish cooking the chicken. I used my
Corning Ware Blue Cornflower serving platter because it has ridges to allow any oil or fat
to drain away from the breaded chicken to help maintain crispiness. I baked my chicken packages
for about 12 minutes until they reached an internal temperature of 155-160F

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Look at that chicken cordon bleu! Crispy, juicy and rustic - you won't find something this satisfying
in the frozen section of your grocer. I served mine with homemade baguette, fresh fruit and white wine

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And it didn't last long. It would have disappeared faster except it was SOO hot!

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Is it rude to lick the plate?


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • The chicken is juicy, the breading is crispy, and the ham with cheese is the perfect salty/savory finish to this dish. As you can see by the photos above, the chicken breast didn't last long and my bf and I were eagerly planning our next date with this delicious chicken
     
  • The trickiest part of cooking the chicken is keeping the stuffing inside the chicken breasts. I found the easiest method or turning the chicken was to use tongs and nudge the edges of the chicken up the side of the pan, then allowing the chicken to roll over the other side. Just bake sure you keep the folded edge at the bottom of the pan at all times to ensure the filling doesn't fall out
     
  • If you don't have an instant-read thermometer, buy one. Seriously, it's a small kitchen tool that will serve you well for years and really helps you avoid over- or under-cooking meats. And let's face it, nobody wants to eat improperly cooked meat. Fortunately, Jenn's method for this chicken is very forgiving and I found that after 12 minutes in a 300F degree oven, my chicken was perfectly cooked
     
  • Make sure to season everything with salt and pepper - chicken, flour and breadcrumbs. Because I love garlic with chicken, I also added a sprinkle of garlic powder to my breadcrumbs. If you don't sufficiently season, your chicken and breading will be a sad, flavorless mess wrapped around cheesy ham

Other Must-Try Recipes from I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen
Maybe chicken cordon bleu isn't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something delicious from I'm Cookin' in My Kitchen. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!

Lemon Cheesecake Mini Tartlets
Creamy Risotto
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin w/ Prosciutto, Spinach & Mushroom
Sweet & Savory Upside-down Tomato Delight
Stuffed Shells with Ricotta & Spinach




12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring the chicken cordon bleu, and for such kind words. I am very happy happy it came out so yummy, it does look good too! Great job. I am going on a day trip today, yay! I am so glad I stopped by before I left this morning, I smiled through your photos and enjoyed reading your post, I am glad you had fun with it. Ya know, you're right about those tricky lil' packages, ya gotta be gentle when flippin' so they don't burst open. What a lovely shot of your lunch, wished I could have joined you both. Have a great day, and thanks so much again! It was tons of fun.

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    1. Jenn, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and I had a great time with this chicken - I will definitely be making it again because it was so delicious. I hope you have a great day trip - and thank you again so much for agreeing to the feature...

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  2. I love everything about this! <3 both of you!!!

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    1. Kayle, I loved every part of making and eating this - I'm just happy I could share Jenn's awesome recipe with everyone!

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  3. That looks sooooo good! Your bread looks fantastic as well. Have a great day!

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    1. It really was delicious - although Jenn's chicken was the real star!

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  4. This is a great recipe. I find that its better to wrap the ham around the cheese. That way it stays inside the chicken. I still think that I like your recipe. Am going to try it myself!

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    1. All the credit goes to Jenn, Ismael! I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to feature her delicious recipe. And I hope you do get a chance to try it...

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  5. Properly cooked chicken makes all the difference! My husband bought me a wireless thermometer for Christmas this past year and, needless to say, our meals have greatly improved. I adore cordon bleu and her version sounds mouthwatering! Thanks for sharing Jenn with us. :)

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    1. It was fantastic, Julie - my mouth is watering again just thinking about the flavors and texture...

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  6. Whew!! Such a great blog! You have put mine to deeeep shame. Anywayzz, guess I will pick up the pieces of my pride and try again. Your photographic steps especially are great!

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    1. Awww, thank you for the compliment, Archi. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the credit for the recipe goes to Jenn ;)

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