Gino’s ‘Italian’ chicken cordon bleu
Gino’s here and is bringing us a firm favourite in the D'Acampo household - his Italian chicken cordon bleu. This healthy Italian twist on a French classic dish sees a perfect combination of baked crispy chicken and ham topped with a cheesy oozing sauce and a mustard mash.
Italian chicken cordon bleu with cheese and mustard sauce
4 large skinless chicken breast fillets, about 250g each
4 slices of ham, about 35g each
250g fine dried breadcrumbs
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
30g salted butter
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml whole milk
2 tsp English mustard
60g grated Parmesan cheese
100g grated Cheddar cheese
1. Place a chicken breast on a chopping board and put one hand on top of it to keep it steady. Insert a sharp knife in the middle of the thickest part and make a slit about 5cm long, chicken breast fillets, running the knife into the breast until it is three-quarters of the way through, creating a pocket.
2. Open up the breast and put a sheet of cling film on top. Very gently (making sure you do not split the chicken) bash down the meat with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the breasts are about 5mm thick. Remove the cling film, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and place a slice of ham on one side of the chicken. Fold the other side over the ham and close the chicken around it.
3. Put a sheet of cling film, about 35 x 30cm, on a work surface. Place the chicken at one end. Grab both sides of the cling film and roll away from you 2-3 times: you want to encase the chicken tightly, but keep it flat, don't roll it into a spiral.
4. Chill for at least 1 hour. Repeat the stuffing and wrap all the chicken. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
5. Place the breadcrumbs on a baking tray, season well and mix. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
6. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/ fan 180°C / Gas 6 and line a large flat oven tray with baking parchment. Break the eggs into a medium bowl with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and gently whisk all together.
7. Take one breast at a time. Remove the cling film and coat first in the breadcrumbs, then gently shake off any excess. Immediately immerse the breast into the eggs, making sure the meat is covered by the eggs, and again coat in the breadcrumbs.
8. Place the chicken breast on the lined oven tray. Repeat the process with all 4 breasts. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
To create the cheese sauce
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and mix together using. A hand-held whisk for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk slowly, continuously stirring with the whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard and cook for another minute. Tip in the parmesan and continue to stir, ensuring the cheese has melted (1-2 minutes). Add the cheddar, again continuously stirring to make sure no lumps are formed. The sauce will start to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat until ready. (If the sauce cools down too much before the chicken is cooked, just return to the heat for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring, to reheat it.) Pour the sauce into a warmed jug.
2, Place the chicken breast on warmed plates and drizzle over the cheesy mustard sauce, or serve it on the side for everyone to help themselves. Serve with creamy mash, and any greens of your choice.