Simple Healthy Homemade Cordon Bleu
Cordon bleu is one of those classic dishes from my childhood. Whenever we went out to a nicer restaurant, I looked for this on the menu as it was something that was not made at home. Why, I can not understand, but it was a special dish that I looked forward to…I mean how could one resist chicken stuffed with ham and gooey cheese?
The nice thing about this dish is that while it is an elegant classic, it is also deceiving simple to make. Or at least my version is. I know that it is supposed to be cooked and served in a cream and wine sauce, but for a healthier spin, I bake mine in the oven with just a little olive oil and herbs. It can be made with any cut of chicken you like best, our family preferring the flavor of dark meat versus the more typical chicken breast. Another twist is my use of cheese. Swiss cheese is the more traditional choice, but munster or American cheese works well too, especially for the more picky eaters in our house!
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 slices of preferred cheese
8 thin slices of deli ham
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
Optional: salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
I always begin by trimming the fat from the chicken thighs as best as I can. The oil used to grease the pan and brown the chicken as well as the cheese inside the chicken give enough juice and flavor that any additional fat isn’t necessary.
Once the chicken thighs are trimmed, open each and lay a slice of cheese and a slice of ham inside the chicken. Roll up to create the individual chicken pieces.
Line up the chicken in a lightly oiled (you can also use non-stick cooking spray) baking dish. Once all stuffed and lined up in the baking dish and dry with a paper towel. This will help the oil and breadcrumbs to stick to the chicken making a nice crispy crust.
Using your hand, rub each piece of chicken with some olive oil and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top of the chicken. Next sprinkle the dried rosemary over the chicken and if you like, grind a little black pepper and add a little salt.
Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is a nice crispy brown and when cut, the chicken thighs are cooked through. The cheese will melt out of the chicken a little bit and spread into the pan – just make sure to scoop some of that lovely gooey cheese with each serving of chicken!
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