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Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“To make traditional cordon bleu, you layer prosciutto (or other ham) and cheese in between thin slices of chicken or veal, then bread and sauté the whole stack. This quick, easy version keeps the flavors the same, but skips the fussy layering and breading steps. Serve with: Delicata squash and broccoli. ”
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (10-12 ounces), trimmed and tenders removed (see Tip)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or thyme
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped ham (about ½ ounce)
1Preheat oven to 400°F.
2Sprinkle chicken with ⅛ teaspoon pepper and salt. Combine cheese and cream cheese in a bowl. Combine the remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper with breadcrumbs, parsley (or thyme) and 1 teaspoon oil in another bowl.
3Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a medium, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Move the chicken to the center so the pieces are touching. Spread with the cheese mixture, sprinkle with ham, then top with the breadcrumb mixture.
4Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes.
Tip: It can be difficult to find small chicken breasts. Remove the strip of meat from the underside of a 5- to 6-ounce breast—the “tender,” about 1 ounce of meat—to yield a perfect individual portion. Freeze the tenders and use them in a stir-fry.
Note: We like Ian's brand of coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets. To make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about ⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs.