Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu with a white wine cream sauce

Kerrie's Birthday was mid week this week so we delayed her birthday dinner until Friday night so I would have time to cook. She decided she wanted Chicken Cordon Bleu this year so I went to work finding recipes. In the end I kind of combined two that appealed to me and the results were excellent.

The main recipe was from Tyler Florence,  while he can be a bit of a tool at times I generally like his recipes.
I didn't really diverge from it at all other than adding some paprika and garlic to the flour before dredging the chicken. I also used a really nice aged gruyere cheese instead of swiss.

the other recipe I pulled from was for a non breaded chicken cordon bleu recipe. The recipe itself might be worth trying at some point but it's lack of breading ruled it out for birthday dinner. The sauce however looked great and I thought it would be delicious to serve with the chicken and the steamed asparagus and broccoli I was serving on the side.

One major problem of course, I could not make the sauce in the way described in the recipe without soaking my nice crispy breading. That would not do.

Enter whole chicken breasts. Whenever possible I like to avoid buying boneless skinless chicken. there are many reasons for doing so, cost is a big one but flavor drives me. The other advantage to buying bone in breasts is that you always get the tender. Those got their own coat of breading for the kids to eat. Sometimes they are included on boneless skinless breast but there is no guarantee.

So after separating the breasts and tenders from the bones and skin, I took the "waste", seasoned them up with some salt and pepper and tossed them into a hot pan with some olive oil. This gave me a nice pan full of tasty browned bits to make the wine and cream sauce with.

One other wrinkle to this meal was I had to stage it so I could carry everything to Kerrie's mom's house. Kerrie's mom is laid up with a broken leg and can't travel yet so we brought birthday dinner to her house.
The chicken is easy, you roll and bread it and set it in a baking dish for cooking later. Realistically you could freeze it at this stage and have a meal in the can for anytime.

For the sauce I added the butter to the browned chicken bits and then deglazed the pan with the wine. I seasoned and reduced it then set it aside to bring with us.

Once I put had the chicken in the oven for 10 minutes or so I reheated the sauce and added the cream and cornstarch mixture as directed so it was hot and fresh to serve with dinner. With all that cream and butter I was pretty sure it wouldn't reheat well and would most likely turn into a pasty thick slop. It wasn't worth the risk.

One other really interesting offshoot to the recipe was around portion size. I liked the idea of slicing the chicken and serving it up family style. I made 5 portions and sliced up 3 and 1/2 for service for 4 adults. We didn't come close to finishing what I had sliced and had 1.5 breasts left untouched. Typically with Codon Bleu you give each person a whole portion and if they are anything like me, they eat what is on their plate. It was a nice way to apply some portion control without looking like a skimpy plate.

I served it with a loaf of Wegmans Garlic Tuscan bread.  and the remaining wine,which was a Standing Stone Semi dry vidal

If you live near a Wegmans and have not tried the tuscan garlic bread then shame on you, go buy some, now.
If you don't live near a Wegmans, well I'm sorry.

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