Chicken Cordon Bleu.

The cordon bleu bit refers to a prize awarded to chefs and has nothing to do with the famous French school of cookery of that name. Nor, for that matter, is the dish a French one, having been invented in the United States of America no earlier than the 1960s. If anything, it is a variation on Chicken Kiev. It has certainly become a very popular dish with consumers thanks to its rich and full taste, and with chefs thanks to its simplicity and ease of production. The usual method of preparation is to use chicken schnitzel, or to beat a breast fillet flat, and roll the ham and cheese up in a sort of roulade, but I use a slightly different method, as I describe below.

Ingredients.

2 chicken breast fillets, trimmed.

2 slices champagne ham.

2 60x20x5mm slices soft cheese.*

Salt to taste.

50g butter.

2 tblsp olive oil.

2 tblsp plain flour.

1 cup Court Bouillon**.

½ cup cream.

Method.

Using a sharp utility knife, cut a pocket lengthwise in each of the two fillets. Wrap a slice of ham around one of the slices of cheese and insert into the fillet. Close the incision with toothpicks. Repeat for the second fillet.

Preheat the oven to 240°C. Heat the butter and oil together in an iron skillet over a hot flame. Sear the fillets briefly on both sides and place in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the fillets and return to the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Place the fillets on a kitchen towel to drain in the warming drawer and place the skillet onto a medium flame.

Stir in the flour and cook until foaming. Stir in the Court Bouillon slowly, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to cook off the floury taste then add the cream. Stir though until bubbling then pour through a sieve into a sauce jug. Pour a little onto two plates, place a fillet on each an serve with the jug on the side.

Serves: 2.

*. Gruyere is the traditional one, but Edam and Mozzarella are also very good.

**. Or chicken stock.

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