In this post we will explore how to cook a perfect chicken breast. We will explore traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu filling and try a new, melty, and delightful alternative recipe. And, perhaps most importantly, we shall splurge and top it all off with a new heavenly cheesy, garlic-y sauce which will change your life forever. Amen.
Cooking a perfect chicken breast comes from three very important steps:
- Lay chicken breast on counter and cut your chicken breast in half. the long way so that when you unfold it, it will look like a butterfly (thus the “butterfly cut”). Then, using a meat hammer, pound chicken until it it pretty much level all the way across. This will promote even cooking which will lesson dry or under-cooked areas.
- Soak in buttermilk. Many chicken recipes benefit from being soaked in buttermilk overnight (or around 8 hours) to help make for moist chicken. This isn’t a must, but it is another way to be sure your chicken turns out amazing.
- Cook to 165F in the thickest part of the piece of chicken. This is crucial for food safety and for creating moist chicken. Undercook, and that flu you thought your family had is actually food poisoning. Over-cook and you get chicken jerky. Cook to 165F, and you’ll have perfectly moist chicken every time. Meat thermometers can be testy, though, so be sure you get a reliable one. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do. I find that digital ones seem to work best. My favorite is the iDevices brand but there are less fancified ones you can start with too.
Now that we have explored chicken breast basics, let’s get rolling with this amazing recipe.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 fresh chicken breasts
- 4-8 pieces sliced smoked ham (not honey ham)
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces gruyere, grated (or you can go traditional with swiss cheese)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 – 5 ounce package croutons, ground (or Panko crumbs)
- 1 recipe of cheese sauce (this recipe from above is below)
Pour buttermilk in 9X13 pan. Set aside.
Butterfly cut and then pound evenly chicken breasts.
Place cream cheese, grated gruyere (or swiss), minced garlic, diced onion, and a dash of sea salt & pepper into mixing bowl. Mix until well-combined.
Roll about 3 ounces of cream cheese mixture into each piece of ham (or you can use 2 slices of ham per piece if you like to be generous).
Place a ham bundle inside of each chicken breast. Coat all chicken breasts in buttermilk and leave in 9X13 pan covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator overnight. (Chicken is okay to leave in buttermilk for up to about 48 hours if you have delays that change your plans.)
When you are ready to bake, remove chicken from buttermilk, salt & pepper top of each chicken breast, coat with ground croutons (or Panko crumbs), and place in a greased pan. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 165F in thickest part of breast. Let chicken rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Cheese Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup mustard (regular or dijon work well)
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Stirring continually, cook over medium heat until cheese melts and then incorporates into the heavy cream.
Pour sauce generously over your Chicken Cordon Bleu – reinvented. Breaking the cheese-y rules never tasted so good.