Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu

So this summer I went to a Culinary camp in Wahpeton, at the North Dakota State College of Science. I was recommended to do it by a doctor of mine who knew I was looking into a career in the Culinary Arts. The camp was only 5 days long, and I got the experience living in a dorm for a few days for the first time;) I had a very nice roommate, her name was Tana (Tana if you're reading this- Heeeeyyyyyyyy!!!). We got along well and I think that's what I was most nervous about.

But basically how the camp went was in the morning we ate breakfast on our own in the morning, we went into the class room with Chef Kyle and we had an hour and half to two hour lesson on what we were going to be doing in the kitchen. I learned so many things, things on safety, I learned about new equipment, correct knife skills, and I even learned the correct way to sauté! After classroom time we got the opportunity to spend a few hours working hands on in the professional kitchen. We made new things everyday from stir fry, to homemade pasta, chicken cordon bleu, and homemade pizza crust! Everything that we made we then ate for lunch.

The second half of the day we spent about an hour in the classroom with Chef Mary learning about the importance of measuring correctly when baking, gluten, and how breads and other pastries rise. Then again we were in the kitchen doing the things we just learned. We made things like Bananas Foster, Crème Brulee, Crepe Suzette, many different breads, soufflés, croissants, and scones. We would have dinner and then go to a night activity, like bowling or going to a movie, then we got to come back and eat our wonderful desserts!

So one of the things that was my favorite to make was Chicken Cordon Bleu (and it is of course my families' favorite too) and that's what this post is all about! Keep reading to find out how to make this classic favorite (and you get to feel super fancy too when the finished product comes out). ;)

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
4 thin slices of prosciutto di Parma (or if you're like me and don't want to try to search and spend that amount of money, use predicted ham)
1/2 pound of Gruyere, grated (or again if you're like me, 6 cheese blend, pre-grated)
1/4 cup of flour
salt and pepper
1 cup of panko crumbs
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only (or a tablespoon of dried thyme)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
A whole, large bottle of vegetable oil

I doubled this recipe, since I was cooking for lots of friends and family.

Get your ingredients together and ready, this is referred to as 'Mise en Place' (I learned that at camp). Put the flour in a container, and season with salt and pepper, beat the eggs in another container, and in the last container add the panko, garlic, thyme, and melted butter, and mix until all the crumbs are coated. I would suggest putting the ham and cheese in bowls also so you're not cross contaminating.

Cover a chicken breast with plastic wrap and beat down with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until the chicken breast is about a 1/4 inch thick.

Add as much cheese and ham as you can until you can still wrap it up. The more cheese, the better.

Start rolling the chicken, tucking the ends into itself, until it looks something like this.

Coat the 'chicken roll' with flour, then batter it with the eggs, and lastly coat it fully, packing it down, with the panko. Let the chicken rest in the fridge for about a half an hour so that the panko doesn't fall off when you put it in the oil.

Heat the oil to medium high heat. Test heat by dropping a panko crumb into the oil and if it sizzles, but not too much, the oil is hot enough. Put the chicken in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the whole breast is dark golden brown. Transfer breasts to a baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes. Check the chicken with a meat thermometer by inserting the thermometer into the middle, the chicken must be at least 165 degrees for it to be a safe temperature.

I served this with a butter and herb pasta and green beans (because they're my sister's favorite)!