Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
and a big fat lie about dessert

Last Sunday I resurrected a recipe I developed as a teenager—my first big trip off-road from cook books and Sunset Magazine. I've been incorrigible ever since, absolutely unable to follow a recipe exactly to save my life.

One summer during college when my parents were out of town, I had a boyfriend over for dinner, and I made him this version of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Eliminating any sauce and baking it makes it ridiculously easy but impressive on the plate.

The boyfriend? After picking at his dinner, he finally confessed that he had eaten three (!) sandwiches before coming over because he got hungry at the last minute. Smoking a couple bowls will do that to you. And I don't think dinner was exactly what was most on his mind. I wised up though and married a man who compliments me on and thanks me for nearly every meal I prepare. As he should.


6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
thinly sliced ham

1/2 cup butter, melted
six green onions, sliced
fresh herbs (I happened to have some tarragon; parsley or thyme would be nice too)

1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter, green onions, and herbs in a small sauce pan and heat until butter is melted. Cool slightly.

Lay out the pounded chicken breasts on a clean surface. Place a slice of ham and cheese on each. Fold in two. Dip each chicken piece in melted butter, then roll in bread crumbs.

Place in a shallow baking dish. Pour remaining butter mixture over chicken. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is browned and juices run clear.
I served this with saffron-scented couscous and sauteed green beans. 

For dessert I made a lemon cornmeal cake with lemon glaze and crushed blueberry sauce. Usually I'll make dessert for Sunday dinner earlier in the day, but I was sleeping off the effects of a late night on Saturday (not used to those anymore!) and went for a trail run in the early afternoon. I put this cake in the oven while I was making dinner and took it out right before we sat down, reasoning that once I sat down I wouldn't do a good job of watching it (my oven heat is not very dependable). It looked fine, but when I went to serve it I realized that the middle was seriously underdone. Runny even. Ugh. I don't usually screw up desserts, you know?

So I carried it to the table and announced to my family, with great authority, that I was serving a lemon cornmeal pudding cake. They totally bought it and practically licked their plates clean. I can't stop laughing about it—just not when they're around. When I make it next time, with the center baked properly, I'll tell them it's a different cake.


Purple Flowers said...

The chicken looks excellent. And I love the fact that everyone ate your delicious pudding cake.

Deb said...

What a great recovery! The pudding cake looks good just the way it is!

The Mrs. said...

Three sammys before dinner? What a pot head!!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh you are killing me with all of this wonderful looking food! All I can think about now is where on earth I'm going to find chicken cordon bleu! Guess I'll have to wait until the weekend and make it myself...