An easier and healthier version of a famous dish: chicken cordon bleu baked in the oven, still crunchy and oozing with cheese, yet less fussy to make.
CHICKEN WITH HAM AND CHEESE
But this is a healthier and easier version of a cordon bleu, made with chicken breasts filled with ham and cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and baked instead of fried.
WHAT IS CORDON BLEU?
Cordon bleu is usually made with thin fillets of veal or pork, filled with cheese and ham, breaded and deep-fried. Usually, you will have a thick roll oozing with melting cheese and crispy due to that fried breadcrumb coating.
An easier version would be to fill a smaller piece of meat with ham and cheese, bread the meat, then pan-fry it. Still using lots of oil, even if you are not deep frying.
HOW TO MAKE AN EASIER CHICKEN CORDON BLEU?
This is my version of a cordon bleu: a healthier, cheaper, quicker, easier to make cordon bleu.
- There is no deep-frying involved, the schnitzel is baked in the oven.
- Also, I am using chicken, which is always a healthier alternative when it comes to meat.
- Veal would be pretty healthy too, but veal is expensive and very difficult to find.
- Plus, many people (my mother-in-law, for instance) don’t eat veal on the ground of its being a baby cow. Well, chicken is also baby chicken, so I really don’t see the point behind that reasoning…
- Less oil involved makes this cordon bleu recipe cheaper as well.
Quicker and easier:
- The cordon bleu rolls served in good restaurants look amazing, but they are not something I would like to make at home often. For guests, maybe, but otherwise I go for the easier and quicker version.
- Instead of butterflying the meat, making a large and maybe unstable roll, securing it with toothpicks all over and having to check the temperature of the frying oil, I take the easy route.
- Cut the chicken breast making sure they still hold on at one side, pound shortly, fill and bread.
- Bake in the oven. That’s it!
Cutting the chicken breasts:
- You will need smaller chicken breasts to make this recipe, those I normally use weigh about 150 g/ 5.3 oz each.
- You will need to cut the chicken breasts in half and make two cordons bleues out of each chicken breast, so a total of 8.
- You can decide if you will then have 4 or 8 serving. I recommend two for adults and 1 for children.
- Cut the chicken breasts across in half.
- Slice each half in the middle, making sure that the meat is still connected at one side.
- Open up the breast and tenderize it with a meat mallet or a heavy saucepan.
- Place one piece of ham and one of cheese on one side of the meat. Make sure that the cheese and ham slices are slightly smaller than the meat, this way, not too much cheese will ooze out.
- Fold the other side of the chicken breast over the filling. Press lightly to make sure they hold together.
- You can secure the chicken pockets with a toothpick if you are anxious that they will not hold. However, I never did it and everything always worked fine. A small amount of cheese will always ooze out, but not too much.
Crumbing the chicken:
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Mix the oil and the sweet paprika powder in a small bowl.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and brush it with the oil-sweet paprika mixture.
- Place the flour on a large plate.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Add the lemon zest and some gratings of nutmeg.
- Place the breadcrumbs on another large plate.
- Coat the chicken in flour and pat carefully over the sink to remove the excess flour.
- Dip the chicken in the eggs and hold shortly over the bowl to allow the excess egg to drip off.
- Coat in the breadcrumbs.
- Place them on the prepared baking tray.
- Brush lightly with some of the oil-sweet paprika mixture, reserve the rest of the oil for later.
Bake the chicken cordon bleu:
- Bake for about 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Turn the chicken on the other side.
- Brush with the remaining paprika oil and bake for another 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- If the chicken pieces are larger, adjust the baking time accordingly.
HOW TO SERVE?
I never feel like I need to have any sauce with cordon bleu, but do make some if you like it.
In spring I often make sauteed asparagus to go with the chicken, while in winter I would go for some roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes.
If I don’t have any fresh veggies, I choose to make French-style green beans or buttered green peas because I always have them in the freezer.
MORE CRISPY CHICKEN?
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL IN PANCAKE BATTER – This schnitzel in pancake batter is my children’s favorite schnitzel.
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL WITH POTATO CRUST – Tender chicken schnitzel with a crunchy potato-Parmesan crust, you will love them.
BAKED PANKO CHICKEN BREAST – Healthy and delicious crispy baked chicken breast with a panko Parmesan crust.
CHICKEN BREAST FRITTERS – A Russian recipe for chicken fritters or chicken patties, whipped up in no time and bound to make your children (or anyone else) happy.
CHICKEN NUGGETS WITH SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE – Our favorite chicken nuggets dipped in a homemade copycat McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
- 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 150 g/ 5.3 oz each
- 2 large and thin cheese slices (or more depending on their size) (See note)
- 2 large and thin cooked ham slices (or more depending on their size)
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- zest from ½ organic lemon
- some nutmeg
- about 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 cup dried breadcrumbs (or more, if necessary)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the chicken breasts across in half. Slice each half in the middle, but make sure that the meat still holds together at one side. Open up the breast, place it between two sheets of plastic foil and tenderize it very gently with a meat mallet or a heavy pan.
- Slice the ham and the cheese slices into smaller slices, large enough to fit into the chicken breast, but slightly smaller than the pieces of meat. Place 1 slice of cheese and 1 of ham on the lower part of each meat piece, fold the upper meat piece over and press lightly so that they hold together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Mix the oil and the sweet paprika powder in a small bowl. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and brush it with the oil mixture.
- Place the flour on a large plate. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Add the lemon zest and some nutmeg. Place the breadcrumbs on another large plate.
- Coat the chicken in flour and shake carefully to remove the excess flour.
- Dip in the eggs and coat in breadcrumbs, pressing slightly.
- Place on the prepared baking tray. Brush lightly with some of the oil mixture, reserve the rest of the oil for later.
- Bake for a total time of 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning halfway through. After turning, brush the chicken very lightly with the leftover paprika oil and finish baking.
- Serve immediately as suggested above.
I use Gouda, but Cheddar or Swiss cheese would also be great.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 cordon bleu pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 591Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 1017mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 64g