Chicken cordon bleu is surprisingly hard to track down in current cookbooks. This classic, which was probably one of the first dishes many of us ate at a "fancy" restaurant, is quite simple to cook at home. It's also a hit with many children.
The first of the following recipes is from "Better Homes and Gardens America's Best-Loved Community Recipes: Volume II" (Meredith, $29.95). The second recipe, a slight variation, is from "The Chicken and Poultry Bible" by Christian Teubner, Sybil Graefin Schoenfeldt and Siegfried Scholtyssek (Penguin, $27.95).
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU
3 medium whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved lengthwise
6 slices (about 6 ounces) fully cooked ham
12 thin slices (about 6 ounces) Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup margarine or butter
8 ounces fresh shiitake and/or button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups milk (1 soup can full)
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional: white grape juice)
Rinse chicken breasts; pat dry. Place each breast half, boned side up, between 2 pieces of clear, heavy-duty plastic wrap.
Working from center to edges, lightly pound with flat side of a meat mallet to a 1/8-inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap.
Place 1 slice ham and 2 slices Swiss cheese on each piece of chicken, folding ham and cheese if necessary to fit on chicken.
Starting from 1 short side, roll up each piece of chicken, jellyroll fashion, and secure with wooden toothpicks.
In shallow dish, stir together beaten eggs and 2 tablespoons white wine. Roll each chicken bundle in flour, dip in egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In large skillet, melt margarine or butter. Lightly brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet; reserve drippings.
Transfer chicken to 3-quart rectangular baking dish and carefully remove toothpicks.
Cook mushrooms in skillet with reserved drippings for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add undiluted soup and milk to skillet. Stir until well mixed.
Remove soup-milk mixture from heat and stir in 1/4 cup white wine (or optional white grape juice). Pour sauce over chicken in baking dish. Bake in 325-degree oven about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 578 calories, 31 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 155 milligrams cholesterol, 1,518 milligrams sodium, 48 percent of calories from fat.
TURKEY BREAST CORDON BLEU
3/4-pound turkey breast
Salt, freshly ground white pepper
2 slices cooked ham
2 slices Emmentaler cheese
Flour, 1 egg (beaten) and bread crumbs for coating
3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Cut meat against the grain. If cutting 2 portions from a whole turkey breast, cut pouch for stuffing at the same time: Slice partway through meat at half the thickness of the portions, then make another slice, this time all the way through, to separate the portion from the breast. Dust turkey with salt and pepper. Fill the pouches with one slice of ham and one slice of cheese each. Coat turkey with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
Heat oil in frying pan and fry meat on both sides for 3-4 minutes. Shortly before the end of cooking, add butter, allow to foam and continue to cook.
Drain breast on paper towels. Serve sprinkled with lemon juice, if desired.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 548 calories, 33 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrates, 56 grams protein, 241 milligrams cholesterol, 483 milligrams sodium, 54 percent of calories from fat.