Chicken Cordon Bleu With An Italian Twist

Cordon Bleu, the name is French for “blue ribbon”, is a cutlet of thinly pounded veal or chicken wrapped around ham and cheese, breaded and then pan fried or baked. While France, Germany, Italy and the U.S. claim to have invented different versions of this dish, food historians say that it first appeared in cookbooks in Switzerland in the 1900’s.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Served With Lemon Risotto And Zucchini
Chicken Cordon Bleu Served With Lemon Risotto And Sautéed Zucchini

Think of Chicken Cordon Bleu as stuffed fried chicken and you can understand why this classic dish is now making a comeback…even to the family dinner table. With its crunchy seasoned breadcrumb coating, savory Italian rosemary ham and melted cheese, this moist and tender chicken dish will be a big hit when served to both friends and family. The nicest part about this recipe is that the majority of the prep work can be done early in the day or even the day before.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Serves 4, adjust the recipe accordingly

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed
  • 12 very thin slices of imported Italian rosemary ham
  • 6 to 8 slices of Fontina, Gruyère or Münster cheese (I’ve tried several and personally like Münster as it melts well but doesn’t seep out during the cooking process)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs, depending on the size of the cutlets
  • 1/2 c. Italian style seasoned bread crumbs, depending on the size of the cutlets
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, depending on the size of the sauté pan
  • 3 Tbsp. butter

Wash the chicken breasts, then place each one between two sheets of plastic wrap and carefully pound thin. Unwrap and spread each breast on one side with a light coating of mustard then season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your taste. Place three slices of ham on each cutlet then top with cheese (it will take about 1 and 1/2 slices to cover each breast). Fold in the long sides of the cutlet and then roll up.  Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and twist the ends tight to look like a sausage. Refrigerate the rolls for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (Can be made ahead up to a day in advance).

Place the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Take plastic off the chicken, skewering if necessary to hold tight, then roll lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the eggs, then coat in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs so they stick. (Can be made to this point earlier in the day and placed on a rack on a tray in the refrigerator. If any wet spots have appeared in the crumbs at the time of cooking, dab with extra crumbs).

Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over moderate heat and when hot cook the rolls on all sides just until lightly browned (about a minute on each side). Then place on a rack on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

****

While very popular at dinner parties and weddings in the ’60’s and ’70’s, the dish lost its appeal as new food tends became popular in later years. As tastes have changed once again, Chicken Cordon Bleu is now true comfort food.  Cut open its golden crispy crust and watch as the melted cheese slowly oozes out and you’ll know why the dish is worthy of a blue ribbon. If you want to gild the lily so to speak, you can serve this chicken with a sauce but it certainly isn’t necessary.

What makes this dish go from ordinary to one of the best chicken dishes ever is the quality of the ingredients used in its preparation. Please don’t use packaged boiled ham and cheese from the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store, instead buy the ingredients from your deli where you can taste and purchase the very best and most flavorful ingredients available.

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114 thoughts on “Chicken Cordon Bleu With An Italian Twist

  1. Hi Karen, you’ve done a beautiful job – the Chicken Cordon Bleu looks perfect. I think Cordon Bleu cookery might be coming back into fashion – you won’t find me complaining!

    1. Hi Lea Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you. I think this is a great dish for a dinner party. We recently served this when entertaining friends. It was especially nice as it was totally prepped ahead of time and waiting in the fridge. The chicken was browned right before our guests arrived then went into the oven while we had cocktails with our friends before serving the dinner.

  2. Your words “making a comeback” are interesting. So as with fashion styles, is food styles. Mac n cheese was banned from the health conscious for years, now it’s at any gathering with children. I love this dish and glad it’s “back,” I guess if we live long enough many things come back around again!

    1. I think you are right Podso, it seems fashions and foods all come around again if we wait long enough. It is a good dish, I’m glad you like it as much as we do, thank you.

    1. Hi Judy, I’m happy to know that you agree with me about quality ingredients. They make such a difference in how a meal turns out. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Jovina, for your compliment. Boar’s Head is the brand that Publix’s deli carries and they are our closest market. When we lived in New Hampshire I bought Citterio Prosciutto Cotto (Rosmarino) Oven Roasted Rosemary Ham…I hope that helps.

  3. Che bello! My mother taught me that one can use a variety of things to make this – and made it with whatever cheese, ham and chicken/veal/turkey she had on hand.

  4. Lovely. Being a single person, I can cut this down and just make one 😉

    Partially related: In the past several years, there has been a public health campaign to teach the public to NOT wash raw chicken. Several studies have shown that washing the chicken actually spreads more germs (salmonella and Campylobacter being the most common illness-causing bacteria). Drexel University did some public service announcement videos, and these views have been endorsed by the Food Safety Agency, many states’ Department of Health, the US Department of Agriculture. Water doesn’t skill the germs, and rinses away very few, but the heat from cooking does.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/08/27/213578553/julia-child-was-wrong-don-t-wash-your-raw-chicken-folks

    http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2013/august/dont-wash-your-chicken-food-safety-campaign/

    The UK NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/washing-chicken-can-cause-campylobacter-food-poisoning.aspx

    Old habits die hard, but I’ve managed to take my chicken from package to pan, unless I need to trim or cut it up first.

    1. Hi Naomi, Old habits are indeed hard to break. To wash or not to wash chicken is a real quandary…thank you so much for the links, they are very informative. This is a good dish that is easily cut down to serve one or two. Either that or you could prep the Cordon Bleu through the breading stage and then freeze the extra ones for later use.

  5. Such a great dish! I love anything “cordon bleu” — chicken, veal, you name it. Chicken is the best, I think. Love how you’ve made yours — so nice. And thanks for the health warning. I’ve been reading the same thing about not washing poultry, and have stopped doing it. Glad to hear there’s actual research backing it up. Thanks!

    1. Thank you John for your nice compliment, I’m glad that you like this version of Cordon Bleu. Yes, Naomi’s links to whether you should wash chicken provide very good information. That is one of the things I like about our blog community. 🙂

  6. How delicious do those rolls look Karen – wow! I have not made this in a long time – don’t even think I have any recipe posted on my blog. I appreciate the info on the cheese as I seem to recall whatever I used always managed to seep out, Your version is a perfect place to start – back to the grocery store sometime this weekend 🙂

    1. Thank you Judi, for your lovely compliment…they really were as good as they look. Yes, while there are more flavorful cheeses that could be used, some of them melt too quickly and seep out during the cooking process. As you can see from the photo, the Münster melted but stayed inside the roll.

  7. I can see how the addition of rosemary and added Italian seasonings would take this dish to a whole new level. I have always loved the dish, but never made it. Your version looks so easy and delicious that I may have to give it a try!

  8. Hi Betsy, Yes…a few different seasonings gave it that added Italian flavor. I’m happy to know that you like this version and appreciate your nice compliment. Do give it a try, it is an easy dish and one that can be prepped ahead of time which I like.

  9. Haven’t enjoyed chicken cordon bleu for many years and Pete loves it so think I shall have to treat him when he is next home. Your meal looks scrumptious Karen.
    Have a beautiful weekend ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. I’m glad you like the recipe Norma, thank you. Münster cheese works good, Fontina had a nice flavor but had a tendency to seep out when it was used.

  10. I can’t believe I was just thinking last week – I sure wish I had a good recipe for Cordon Bleu. When I said it out loud, my daughter didn’t even know what I was talking about. Well, now I do have a good recipe and I’m going to make it as soon as it cools down a bit!

    1. They say that “great minds think alike”… :D. You will definitely have to make and share this dish with your daughter. She will then know why we’ve been thinking about this classic recipe.

    1. Hi Eva, I’ve seen butcher shops in Europe that prepare beautiful ready to cook meat dishes like this. I’m glad you like the looks of this dish, thank you.

    1. Thank you Amanda, I’m glad you like the looks of the Cordon Bleu. Too bad what is available in your market isn’t good, you will have to make your own…it’s easy. 🙂

  11. This was one of the first dishes I learned to make for company..it never gets old..always so delicious..we had risotto last night Karen..great combo you have created:)

    1. Hi Monique, We had friends over recently and served this…they loved it too. I’m glad you liked the combination, the risotto went well with the chicken. Thank you.

  12. Oh Karen this looks absolutely mouth watering my friend! I have never tried Italian Rosemary Ham and will now be on the lookout for it. I know that the ham took this dish right over the top!! ♥

  13. It’s been a long while since I’ve made this; thanks for the reminder, Karen. I love your twists and I’ll take your advice about the Munster cheese. Funny how classics stay that way even with our new signature riffs.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Marigene, I do hope you try the Cordon Bleu again. It would be nice to serve it to friends at your beautifully set table.

    1. Hi Julie, If you had a chance to make the Cordon Bleu, I hope you enjoyed it as much as my husband and I did. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  14. I’m so pleased to read a little history of the rise, fall, and return in popularity of this memorable dish! I haven’t thought of chicken cordon bleu in such a long time, but I’m certainly old enough to remember when it was very popular! I also hadn’t really thought about how the return of some of these rich and complex dishes are returning as comfort food, but when you mentioned fried chicken I smiled. After many years of being snubbed as “unhealthy,” at least in the California salad culture, it’s back! I think people need a little comfort, and are perhaps generally hungry. 🙂 Loved reading this Karen. You really are a wonderful cook!

    1. Hi Debra, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post and appreciate your kind words, thank you. Yes, many dishes that were popular years back are now being prepared as comfort food and this certainly is one of those kind of meals.

  15. Wonderful post, Karen, the dish looks heavenly. Glad to see it coming back…I remember it being served at many a banquet I’d attend back in the 70’s and 80’s!

    Jane

  16. Chicken Cordon Bleu with an Italian twist! I don’t think it gets any better than that Karen. Oh my goodness, YUM!!! The classics are still worthy of center stage and this dish of yours is no exception.

    Thank you so much for sharing Karen and thank you for the encouraging words on my blog. I’m taking your advice and enjoying each and every second:) Stay well Karen and Thank you…

    1. I appreciate your kind words Louise, thank you. It is always my pleasure to visit you, I’m happy to know that you are enjoying every second of each day. 🙂

    1. Thank you Juliana, I’m glad you like the looks of the Cordon Bleu. I thought the risotto was a good accompaniment to go along with the chicken. I hope you have had a good week as well.

  17. I love reviving the old recipes and agree – sometimes I look thought my old written recipes and find things that are being shared now. It all comes around again but I hope the fashions of the 60’s never comes back!

  18. Looks incredible. I love the use of rosemary ham. We just saw frozen chicken cordon blue at the store and thought, gee we need to make some soon. Thanks for the reminder and recipe.

  19. Oh I do remember these from the 70’s! So good! Thanks for bringing these back. I’m going to need to make them for old time sake and glad to have your recipe.

  20. I love cordon bleu, it’s a staple dish from my childhood and yours look super delicious! I like the way you rolled it instead of folding it. It’s funny because I haven’t had one in years and was actually thinking about making one a couple of days before you posted this recipe 😉

    1. Hi Didi, It sounds like my post came at a good time since you were just thinking about Cordon Bleu. I think rolling it makes it look a little more special…I’m glad you like it. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment Ksenia, thank you. Yes, this is a special and pretty way to serve chicken. I can see why it was served at so many dinner parties and weddings in the past.

    1. Hi Susan, This is a great recipe to use when entertaining. We served this to friends for a weekend dinner and they love it. We loved it because of the advanced preparation. 😀

    1. Thank you Mimi, for your nice compliment. Just a slight twist, using seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and the rosemary ham gives it a bit of Italian flavor not found in the original recipes. 🙂

  21. Karen, Your version of this delicious dish looks so creamy and juicy and tender! I haven’t had this for years but now I’m craving some. Thanks for the tip on the type of cheese — I do like munster and I think I must make this soon. I’m not sure I can adjust to cooking without washing my poultry, however, after reading the info in the links above I will try. Linda

  22. How nice to hear that Chicken Cordon Bleu is making a come-back. It’s always been a classic and I love that you’ve served it with risotto and zucchini. Thinking of you while Matthew is in the area and hope there’s no major damage and that you’re safe.
    Sam

    1. Thank you Sam, for thinking about us…it was very kind of you. We got out of Vero the day before the storm hit and left for our trip to Europe. We have heard that our house is OK but some of our new large palm trees will have to be replanted. We have a whole house generator which ran for a couple of days but our power has now returned although parts of Vero Beach still remain without electricity. We were very lucky and are now on vacation in Germany and Austria until the end of the month.

  23. Hi Karen, I like cooking with my 16 year old daughter to teach her how to be adventurous with food. This is a recipe we haven’t tried yet, and I think we really must! I love getting ideas from you 🙂

  24. Hi Karen! I’m soo far behind with everything you – and other bloggers – have been up to… I’m trying to remedy that right now! It sure looks like you and your husband are having a FABULOUS TIME. Can’t wait to read all about it.
    About the Chicken Cordon Bleu – I’m soo glad it’s making a comeback. I’ve always loved it. ; o )

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