I love chicken cordon bleu, but it doesn't love me back. The original dish is a chicken breast pounded flat, layered with ham and swiss cheese, then rolled up, coated in bread crumbs and fried to delicious crispiness. It's a massive gall bladder attack, heart attack, cholesterol nightmare; but it's so tasty...
So I decided to make a more diet-friendly version. And while I was at it, I decided to make it gluten free so my daughter could eat it too. But that also meant we had to swap out the cheese for a sheep cheese. (Can't do goat cheese because I'm allergic to it.)
So if you aren't gluten-free, go ahead and use regular panko bread crumbs. If the cheese isn't a problem for you, use your favorite cheese. I recommend swiss cheese, but havarti, provolone, or monterey jack would also work well.
For the ham, choose whatever deli ham you like best—canadian bacon, black forest ham, honey smoked ham, or whatever sounds good to you. I like using the natural hams mostly because the chemicals added to most deli meats give me issues. Me and my GI tract need to have a long talk about reacting to things...
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 chicken breasts
8 slices of deli ham
8 slices of Manchego cheese (sheep cheese from Costco - delicious!)
1 c. gluten-free bread crumbs or gluten-free croutons, crushed fine
chopped parsley for garnish
Lay a chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Slice it horizontally into two thinner pieces. Repeat for the other three breasts.
Flatten each chicken breast by pounding it with a meat hammer or a rolling pin. You want them fairly thin.
Lay a slice of ham and cheese on each breast piece. Roll it up with the ham and cheese on the inside. Use a toothpick to hold the rolls closed.
Beat the egg with 1 T. of water.
Bread the chicken rolls by dipping them into the egg, then into the bread crumbs. If you use croutons, no need to add extra seasonings. Otherwise, you can add 1/2 t. of oregano or sage to the bread crumbs. Place seam side down in a greased baking dish.
Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and breading is nice and crispy. Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes 8 servings - size depends on how big the chicken breasts were to start with.