Our family has a very interesting history with Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was one of the most popular dishes in our family rotation when our kids were in grade school. I made a recipe from the Albert Stockli cookbook that the kids just loved, and I would often prepare the dish for the babysitter to heat up on our rare "date nights."
We were blessed to live with the sweetest, most lovable dog -- an Aussie Shepard/Collie/Something Else mix who weighed in at 80 pounds and who had a penchant for jumping up on the beds to sleep with the kids, reducing his large body to a trembling ball under a coffee table during thunderstorms, and propping his paws handily on our unusually high kitchen counters. Well, by now you may have guessed the end of the story -- the babysitter took the Cordon Bleus out of the refrigerator and placed them on the top of the toaster oven, took the kids for a quick walk, and returned to find an empty baking dish and a dog with a very guilty look on his face.
My husband recently asked me what happened to the Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe -- the truth is, after our beloved dog passed, I couldn't bring myself to make the dish. But I decided to resurrect the Cordon Bleu recipe and prepare the dish in a different way that makes the preparation easier and faster. I have been experimenting with different sauces to serve with the Cordon Bleu Kievs, and I came up with what I think is a great sauce that adds nice flavor.
I realized that this dish has been in our meal rotation with as much frequency as roast chicken, and qualifies as a favorite recipe. With all the craft ciders produced in Vermont, it's easy to round up ingredients from the lunch meat bin in the refrigerator, pick up some local cider, and whip this meal together in no time. —Bevi
4 cordon bleus
For the chicken:
ground black pepper
skinless chicken breasts
marjoram, finely chopped
grainy country mustard, divided into 4 portions
slices of black forest ham, from the deli counter
Preheat the oven to 300° F. In a pie plate, combine the flour, salt, and pepper and stir with a whisk to blend. Set aside.
Pat the chicken breasts dry. Place a breast inside a 1-gallon Ziploc bag (or between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap) and pound with a mallet until the breast is about 1/4-inch thick. NB: A trick I learned is to add a little water in the Ziploc bag to prevent the chicken from sticking to the bag. This can prevent shredding and tearing the chicken. Repeat with the second breast. Cut each flattened breast in half.
Place the 4 portioned breast pieces on a large plate. Sprinkle each portion with equal amounts of marjoram, then spread equal amounts of country mustard on each of the breast pieces.
Place a slice of ham on each breast portion, followed by a slice of swiss cheese.
Roll up the breasts to form a roulade, or "kiev," and dredge in flour. Place the kievs in the refrigerator to firm up for about an hour.
Remove the kievs from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to sautéing. When ready (the preparation will take about 20 to 30 minutes from this point on), place a large sauté pan over medium heat and warm up the butter and olive oil.
Place the kievs in the sauté pan and brown evenly on all sides. It will take about 10 minutes until the kievs are a lovely golden brown. Place the kievs in an ovenproof baking dish and cover with foil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes -- as long as it takes you to prepare the sauce.
For the boozy cider sauce:
After removing the kievs from the sauté pan, keep the heat on medium and
immediately add the white wine and scrape up all of the wonderful chicken bits. Then, add the hard cider.
Add the apple cider, and stir well with a whisk. Add the mustard, then add the butter. Raise the heat so you have a nice, popping simmer going. Taste for seasoning and add pepper and/or salt as needed. Keep stirring the sauce, adjusting the heat as necessary, until it is reduced by about half and is unctuous and silky.
Plate the kievs, and spoon the sauce over them. Serve the additional sauce in a gravy bowl.