Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu
Chicken Cordon Bleu is kind of a throwback recipe, but I’ve always loved it. Usually I do the normal method; cut a slit in the breast, stuff it with ham and cheese, then fry it up. But recently I accidentally thawed out thighs instead of breasts, and then realized I was out of regular bread crumbs. So I had to improvise a little bit.
How had I never thought of this before? Chicken breasts are so annoying! That little bit of time between undercooked and dry is impossible to hit without a meat thermometer, and you can’t exactly pop one into a chicken breast stuffed with melted cheese. The thighs cooked through perfectly and stayed wonderfully moist.
Also, I couldn’t pan fry without losing at least of some of my filling (I’m sure some people can, I’m just not that coordinated) so I decided to bake them. So, it’s probably a little healthier too. Or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.
Toasting the panko in butter beforehand helps get a nice golden coating on the outside of the chicken. There’s something about baked chicken with dry-ish breadcrumbs on the outside that reminds me of Shake & Bake. This seems almost fried.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Trim any extra fat or hanging pieces off your chicken thighs and lay them between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat hammer until they're as thin as you can manage without tearing them. Remove from the plastic and brush one side of each thigh with a generous amount of mustard.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat, once it starts to simmer add the panko bread crumbs. Stir them gently until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Remove from heat and mix in mustard powder, salt & pepper. Set aside to cool.
Lay out the ham slices and place cheese cubes in the center, fold up like an envelope (see picture) - this will keep the cheese from melting right out of your chicken. Place half of the ham & cheese packets on top of one thigh, then place another, mustard side down, on top of it...you know, kind of like a sandwich.
Set up your breading station. Flour in one bowl, your egg beaten with a bit of water in a second, and the toasted breadcrumbs in a third. Carefully bread each of your chicken and ham packets by dipping them in that order and put them on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, then let rest another 5 before serving.