I hope all my readers from the US enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. I successfully kept it low carb throughout the meal. My gracious host (my co-worker Peggy, one of the nicest, most inviting people I’ve met) served up a delicious feast that included more vegetables than there were guests, I think. I enjoyed bell peppers and spinach dip (and a few naked mini hot dogs) for appetizers and turkey, zoodles, my jalapeno bacon biscuits and three helpings of creamy brussels bake for dinner. Everything was fabulous and I had a wonderful time spending the holiday with her family. Today’s recipe is my twist on a culinary classic, the chicken cordon bleu. “Cordon bleu” is French for blue ribbon and dates as far back as the mid-sixteenth century under King Henry III. Le Cordon Bleu is also a culinary arts school founded in 1895 in Paris; Julia Child attended the school and today they teach over 20,000 students annually. Ironically, chicken cordon bleu is an American dish that first appeared on menus in the 1960s. Most cordon bleu recipes are ham and Swiss cheese stuffed inside the chicken, but I don’t really care for Swiss and Gouda is gooda, so it was an easy decision. I was finally able to use my brand new cast iron skillet for this recipe, too. It’s an early Christmas present and something I’ve wanted for quite some time. I know I still need to learn a lot about how to use the skillet to its full potential but I’m excited to have it for today’s dish.
I started by gathering my ingredients and pre-heating my oven to 350°F. My skillet came pre-seasoned but I did want to add some extra olive oil to it as meat can sometimes stick to new pans. If you are purchasing a new cast iron skillet or have one that has not been used, please make sure it has been seasoned or learn how to season it yourself here.
Next I used a knife to butterfly the chicken breasts in half. I suggest trying to make both halves equal thickness, which can be a challenge at times, so don’t worry if they’re not perfect. The chicken breast shown above certainly is not. I layered the chicken between two sheets of saran wrap and used a meat mallet to flatten them to a 1/2″ thickness.
When the oil was hot, I placed the chicken breasts in the pan to brown up. I removed the toothpicks before turning them over in the pan; I was nervous about them sticking, so I flipped them a little too early for the above photo. I would recommend leaving them in there for 4-5 minutes per side to caramelize. Ideally they will have a deep brown crust after they are flipped. I then transferred the chicken to the oven and let them finish cooking for 45 minutes. I flipped them once after 25 minutes to ensure even cooking throughout. I finished them off with some chopped “pasta herbs,” a combination of basil, oregano and parsley, to cut the heaviness of the cheese. The chicken is very tender and juicy and although a lot of the Gouda oozed out of the chicken and into the skillet, it browned up nicely and tasted delicious. The ham and cream cheese complete the flavor profile and go well with the smoked Gouda, too. This is a great base recipe for stuffing chicken as you could use a variety of ingredients in place of the ones shown. I’ve stuffed chicken with spinach, mozzarella and ricotta before and it has turned out great, too. What type of stuffed chicken recipes would you like to see? Let me know!