Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Gypsy Slow Down

      I have always wanted to make this. I don't know why I never did before. Hearing the name makes me feel a little bitter sweet. I see myself standing on the corner of Rue de L'Abbe Gregoire staring ahead at a tall grey stone building that blended into the rest of the street lined with meat shops, an Asian restaurant and a bakery with galette de rois parading in the window, in honor of the French holiday (whoever finds the little plastic king in the cake wins). I had on my black trench coat and my tall black boots and a turquoise scarf around my neck. I didn't stand out but my heart in my chest was trying to. I had my resume in my hand and a desperate need for some kind of definitive future. I wanted to stay in Paris; to go to cooking school and to become a chef. Most of all though, I just wanted a plan. The school was L'Ecole Ferrandi, a smaller school than Le Cordon Bleu with a really good international program in English. I remember dropping off my papers and feeling like I'd thrown out a line. Would they bite? With every stop on the Metro, I wondered. A few weeks later I did receive a nibble. I was invited to join the bread and pastry school and urged to register for my program right away. I had applied to the full program and after a phone call I was told it was a mistake and I was actually accepted to general cuisine. I still have the original letter inviting me to learn how to make bread. Life can be entertaining (if you saw my poor burned bread machine you would know I should have taken the first invite). Even so, there is still an ultimate plan. My ultimate was not cooking school in Paris (thank you declining economy). But I have to admit I'm glad. So many things would be different if I had stayed in France. I probably would never have finished my bachelors or worked at a fine dining restaurant that showed me that's not the business I really want. I might never have met the guy who thinks my cooking is pretty darn good as it is. Who knows. But even so, here is Chicken Cordon Blue, in honor of cooking schools everywhere. The future is still out there. No dreams are ever burned to a crisp.

Chicken Cordon Blue along with Mashed New Potatoes with Peas and Lemon

This is adapted from Tyler Florence's Cordon Blue recipe. I used different cheese and flour and did my own thing preparing the chicken.

Ingredients:

4 thin chicken breast (or pound the chicken yourself)
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 pound Gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Salt and Pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lay the chicken breast on a sheet of wax paper. Put a slice of prosciutto on each breast and top with grated cheese. Gently roll up chicken breast, being careful not let the cheese fall out. Stick a toothpick in the chicken breast if they look like they will unravel.


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In a bowl mix together the flour, bread crumbs, thyme, parsley, garlic and butter. The mixture should not be wet, just sticky in places. Beat eggs in another bowl. Gently coat each chicken piece in egg and then flour mix. You may have to scoop up some of the mix and pat it onto the chicken.


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Grease a baking pan with olive oil and place chicken rounds onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through. Cut into pin wheels or leave in a log and serve with potatoes.


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Mashed New Potatoes with Peas and Lemon

Oh oh oh these were so good. I strayed a lot from the recipe (oops) but the end result was to. die. for.

Ingredients:

3 red potatoes, cut into fours
2 leeks, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups frozen green peas
1 lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes until you can easily stick a fork in them. Saute leeks in butter until brown. Add frozen peas, cream and garlic and salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the cream mixture. Chop up the other half of the lemon and add to mixture. Simmer for five minutes.


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Remove the lemon pieces. In mixer, beat the potatoes (leave the skin on) at low speed until mashed. Add the peas and cream mixture and beat at low speed until incorporated. Serve.

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