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Hey guys, real quick: Omnomicon now has a Facebook page and is also twittering about on Twitter. I’m not quite sure why, but I thought being better socially-networked might be to the benefit of the site. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled recipes.

The first time I had Chicken Cordon Bleu, I was somewhere around 10 years old and my Memere had taken me out for my birthday. I probably ordered mozzarella sticks as an appetizer, because that was my thing, when extremely Quebecois-accented Memere recommended Chicken Bleu, I think mostly as an educational ploy to teach me more French. “O, da Chicken Cordon Bleu! Do you know what dat means? Blue Ribbon Chicken! Huh?! Huh?! Ha!”

Chicken Cordon Bleu doesn’t seem to have a whole lot in the way of history, but according to the nominal amount of research I did on the subject, what we call Chicken Bleu is wholly American and apparently started getting mentioned in newspapers as an airline food around 1960.

Whatever, it’s really frickin good.

Chicken Bleu is simple, cheap, easy and amazingly satisfying without sitting in your stomach like a lump of lead for the following several hours. After a year of being extremely food-conscious, I was surprised to find that I still absolutely love this dish. I wouldn’t call it subtly-flavoured, but it does taste far more sophisticated than the concept would sound.

The formula is simple: swiss, ham, chicken, treat it kind of like a turducken. Most recipes call for breast, but I thought the boneless skinless thigh meat would be a bit more flavourful and tender. You are, as always, free to use your discretion on the matter.

Ham. Swiss. Chicken.

I just used the cheap deli ham and Swiss because um, it works just fine and there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on fancy ham, if such a thing even exists. That said, I do prefer better deli supplies when I’m eating it cold.

Keep on rollin on.

I used toothpicks like safety pins to keep this thing together and “mend” any holes I made in the meat while I was pounding it out. But I have to point out that you really don’t want to use the coloured ones you see here because they will stain your meat, which in addition to being kind of a culinary faux pas is just grossly unappetizing.

Meat purse.

Next up: flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs.

Assembly line.

Twenty-five minutes is the *perfect* amount of time to bake this—the chicken is cooked but tender and the cheese is melty without being scorching. Also, because of the toothpicks, these come out looking like you fried alive something vicious.

Ovenfresh chicken bleu.

Was Memere right or what? Yum!
Chicken cordon bleu.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 1/2 breasts (chicken breasts are HUGE these days!)
4 slices deli ham (or prosciutto or capicola)
4 slices deli Swiss cheese (or provolone or mozzarella)
1 egg
1/4 c water
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs
Several plain toothpicks

If your chicken breast is a little thick, you’ll want to butterfly it and tenderize with a mallet. You can try to do the same if you’re going the chicken thigh route, but it’s not likely to help you very much, so you might as well save yourself the frustration.

Cut the Swiss cheese into eight rectangles and stack. Slice the ham in half lengthwise, stack both pieces, then roll around the stack of cheese. Now create a little “meat purse” out of your chicken around the ham and cheese, and tack it up with toothpicks. Remember, no colours here unless you want polka dot chickens! The chicken will be cooked leaky-side up so that the cheese has less of an opportunity of gushing out of your creation all over the pan.

Set up three bowls for breading the chicken. The first holds flour for dusting the chicken balls; the second will have a beaten egg and 1/4 c water whisked together for an egg wash. The last will have some seasoned bread crumbs. Dip the chickens in the flour, the egg wash, then the bread crumbs. Place, toothpick side up, on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 25 minutes exactly in a 350o oven. Serve with rice pilaf.
Nutrition Summary: 260 calories, 0g fiber, 13.5g fat; 5.5 Weight Watchers Points




I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out making rice pilaf from scratch. I really like the stuff from the box, and it’s what most restaurants serve for rice pilaf too. Theirs tastes so much “better,” though, because they use twice the butter called for on the box, and while that sounds like complete conspiracy theory conjecture, I did learn it at the restaurant where I waitressed that one time, and have noticed it everywhere I’ve eaten pilaf since.

Turns out that making your own pilaf is pretty easy (it’s mostly just getting the ratio of rice to orzo correct), but way more time consuming and you can just add whatever seasonings you would put in your own version to the box stuff. I’ve included the recipe as a bonus for those interested.

Chicken cordon bleu.

Rice Pilaf

2.5 c water
1 c long grain rice (brown or white, your choice)
1 tbsp chicken base (from what I can tell this is pretty much the only flavouring in boxed pilaf)
1 tbsp butter
saffron (pictured, or whatever other spices you want in your pilaf)
1/4 c orzo

Bring the water to a boil in a deep pan. Doing it this way instead of in a pot makes your pilaf less likely to turn out mushy. Once boiling, add chicken base, butter and seasonings, and stir until fully dissolved. Add the rice, give a stir, then put a lid on the pan. Check the rice for doneness at 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 35 minutes, but it should take about 40-45 minutes overall.

Once you’ve got the rice going, make the 1/4 c orzo according to the box instructions.

Once the rice is tender and fluffy and done, stir in the orzo. Enjoy!

Nutrition Summary: 225 calories, 1g fiber, 8g fat; 4.5 Weight Watchers Points

  1. Amanda Said,

    I usually do this with the mozzarella on the inside and prosciutto on the outside – does that make it chicken cordon bleu or chicken bleu cordon? *DING DONG*

    Anyway I like the colorful toothpicks. They do look very vicious indeed.

  2. Nicolas Said,

    This is why I miss meat…

  3. Liz Said,

    When I’ve made Chicken Cordon Bleu in the past, I tried to lay out the cheese and ham over top of the chicken then roll it all up. This usually results in a big mess and very little cheese actually stays in the chicken. I like your idea of rolling the ham around the cheese first, then wrapping the chicken around it. I am definitely going to try this method next time! Thanks 🙂

  4. Connie Said,

    This looks very tasty – and I think my kids would like it too.

  5. Natalie Said,

    i love making Cordon Bleu from scratch.. so much more satisfying than the frozen version my parents used to make!

  6. naomi Said,

    maybe it’s b/c i’m sick and hopped up on cough medicine, but while the chicken does look great and all sorts of vicious w/ the toothpicks, that last pic w/ the cheese oozing out looks a little obscene…I’m just saying… lol

  7. Kate Said,

    I love that giant stack of Swiss cheese! It looks so naughty and yet…it’s not! Must…try…

  8. stephchows Said,

    Too fun! I like the idea of using the thigh meat to add some flavor. The worst is dry chicken, I swear some people love cooking the crap out of their chicken, always happy to hear when someone doesn’t 🙂 Steph chows has a facebook page too. I’ll have to look you up!

  9. Julie Said,

    Is it too early to make that? Cause… YUM!

  10. admin Said,

    I’m of the opinion it’s never to early to make anything delicious, particularly if it’s non-alcoholic. But even then.

  11. ivy Said,

    ok, aleta, This is my first time cooking with chicken thighs and mine dont look as nice as yours. They are all fatty and veiny and not as light of a pink. Is this okay? My Cordon Bleu purses are waiting to be put in the oven.

  12. Food blogging may not be the anti-Christ. « becky says. Said,

    […] and making mental notes of the simplicity of the ingrediants. I actually want to try to make her chicken cordon bleu recipe! Chicken Cordon Bleu is actually one of my favorite foods of all time, and she makes it look so […]

  13. Courtney N. Said,

    I’m hosting my own birthday dinner party soon and I was wondering if you had any advice or tips. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and am totally loving it. I love the way you write and it really makes for a great read! Thanks! -court

  14. Erin at One Particular Kitchen Said,

    Ohhhhh…. this looks GOOD. I’m not normally a huge fan of CCB, but this I love the way you did it! May just have to try it again.

  15. Becky Said,

    Well, I made it! It was delicious, wonderful, and best of all, I LOVED making it! It was fun, super quick, and delicious…. I was so proud, and the fiance gobbled it up.
    Now I have some faith in myself to try making something else from scratch…!

  16. Big Boys Oven Said,

    you make this look so simple and delicable!

  17. Chester Said,

    I love your multicolered toothpicks!

  18. gina's weight watcher recipes Said,

    I have always loved chicken cordon bleu, I will be making this soon!!

  19. Laura Said,

    Great recipe! Thanks!

  20. Marci Said,

    I made this for my husband and he was FLOORED that I did it myself. I am not a cook, but I thought this recipe looks easy enough for me to handle. It was delicious! I used chicken breast, and it needed to cook a bit longer than 25 minutes, but easy enough to adjust that part. Just a thought, could you put a “Print This Recipe” link on your site? The only way I could find to print this was to get a whole bunch of extra stuff too. Thanks, you’re awesome!

  21. Erin Said,

    Great images! True confession time: I made stuffed chicken a few months ago and totally used the colored toothpicks not even thinking about the possibility that the color might run while the breasts baked. I don’t think my boyfriend was very impressed with my blue striped dinner. Sheesh…even Mark Darcy at least tried Bridget Jone’s “blue soup.” 😉

  22. raych Said,

    I made these tonight and the whole time I couldn’t stop repeating the phrase ‘meat purse’ to myself and chortling. It went something like this: *wraps chicken around ham* Hee hee, meat purse. *Joel, from other room* What’s going on in there? *me* NOTHING! *chortles*

    I used chicken breasts but I am, how you say, bad at butterflying things, so one of the half-breasts was pretty much just chicken shards. I had to hold it together with, I swear to you, something like eighty toothpicks. It was still delicious.

  23. brittney Said,

    I made this last night for me and my honey, YUMM. I always thought cordon bleu would be so much more difficult, but this was basics!! and yes, very fun to stab the bugeez outta the little chicken balls of goodness. Mmmmm… I ended up using “thin cut chicken breasts” or something, i think they’re just pre-butterflied (and thank God, because my knifes are in desperate need of some sharpening…) but I still needed to pound the sh** outta them. Any reason to pull out the ol giant wooden chicken smasher and start bangin up a storm for my crappy neighbors. =) And the chicken seemed to thick to wrap, but other than that…. THIS WAS DA BOMB!!!

  24. Jenny Said,

    A note on the pilaf, I really like the box stuff too, and have found that 1-2 oz onion finely chopped, sweated in 2 (or more, yum!) tbsp butter in a thick bottomed pot with two “shakes” tumeric (not much) two cloves minced garlic makes almost the same flavour. I never bother to add the pasta part (because I’m always out…. durr) but sweat the onion & garlic a little and then add 1 cup basmati rice and toast it until the grains pop a little. This will make it come out fluffy in the end!!!! add two cups WARM chicken stock and boil. Then turn down to low, and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Let rest for 5, and serve!

    This is a variation of a recipe I learned at Le Cordon Bleu culinary academy, and I swear by it.

    happy eating!!

  25. Ben Said,

    Just made this about a week ago for my parents, it turned out so good that I’m going to make it again tonight for my wife’s parents. We are newlyweds and this is a great meal to make to show off a bit. Love the recipe thank you!

  26. Yolo Health Revolution » Lighter Chicken Cordon Bleu Said,

    […] Chicken Cordon Bleu today and came right over for dinner. The more the merrier! I adapted this from Omnomicon, love her! They came out amazing. My daughter loved them so I know I will be making these again and […]

  27. Dawna Said,

    I am gong to try this tonight. My honey is having a bad day and what better way than Cordon Bleu with a great side dish and a cold drink on the side. The drink may come first. However, Cordon Bleu it is. Wish me luck!

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