Well again, here we are on the lighter side of cooking. After a fun spring of baking my heart out, I am ready to lighten things up a bit. I decided to start with a regular in my kitchen, chicken. I love chicken and am always looking for ways to dress it up. I have been experimenting with lighter flavorful versions of Chicken Cordon Bleu. The winning dish above is served with Spicy Baked Brown Rice.
The purpose of this test is to come up with the most flavorful light Chicken Cordon Bleu that I could, and texture is a huge component of this dish. I would also like to flavor test which would be better: lean ham or turkey bacon. Lastly for texture: does the Laughing Cow cheese give a creamy enough texture? Does using an egg wash make a difference on the texture of the breading?
This test run is using Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss and Garlic & Herb. I tried using Lean Ham (left overs from lean ham steaks that I cut into circles for a fun snack) and turkey bacon (again something else I had in my fridge that sounded interesting). Lastly I tested the differences using an egg wash and not using an egg wash.
I started with 5 pounds of chicken breast. The plan is to make 1/2 with each option. Here are my fabulous results!
Batch 1: Batch #1 was done using Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese. Half of batch #1 is stuffed with lean ham - we will call this batch #1a, the other half with turkey bacon (I love Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon for this), also all of batch #1 WILL NOT have an egg wash used - we will call this batch #1b.
Batch 2: This batch was done using Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb cheese. Half of batch #2 is stuffed with lean ham - we will call this batch #2a, the other half with turkey bacon (I love Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon for this), also all of batch #2 WILL have an egg wash used - we will call this batch #2b.
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment or a Silpat. In a medium bowl combine bread crumbs and seasonings, set bowl aside.
Cut chicken breasts into approximately 4 ounce portions, chicken breasts being so huge these days, I cut most breasts in half. Place a piece of cling wrap on your cutting board to help keep your board clean. Place another piece of cling wrap on top of your chicken. Using a mallet, pound them to about 1/4 thick. Note: You can also butterfly chicken and then pound it out. That would be my option for the next time I make it.
After all chicken breasts are done. Place a slice of ham or 2 criss-crossed half slices of turkey bacon on top of the chicken, top with cheese and wrap chicken around to completely cover cheese, using plain toothpicks to secure. (Make sure there are no holes so your cheese doesn't leak out). Season with a little salt.
Batch #1 is going straight into the breadcrumb mixture, batch #2 will get the egg wash. Batch #1 was rolled in the breadcrumb mixture. Press bread crumbs onto chicken to get a good coating. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
Batch #2 is getting an egg wash then the bread crumb mixture. In a medium bowl crack eggs and add water, whisk to combine. Dip chicken in egg wash, then roll into bread crumb mixture. Press bread crumbs onto chicken to get a good coating. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
Lightly mist all chicken with olive oil, I did this using my favorite kitchen gadget this week. My Misto olive oil sprayer! The olive oil misting will help to give the bread crumb coating a great crispy texture and also aids in locking in the juices.
Put chicken in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
First, lets address the egg wash vs. NO egg wash. Batch #2 had a much crispier texture. Batch #1, was NOT a winner in the external texture category.
NOTE: USE EGG WASH
Batch #1a - with the ham and Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss and no egg wash, the ham was difficult to cut through due to the thickness of the ham steak. The cheese was creamy and light. Very nice flavor. I would use regular thin sliced ham next time. The outside was virtually dry. Kind of like moist bread crumbs. No crunch.
Batch #1b with the turkey bacon and Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese - no egg wash. Very good flavor, nice to cut into. Delicious combination. The turkey gives a nice smoky flavor. Again, the outside was just about dry. Kind of like moist bread crumbs. No crunch.
Batch #2a with the ham and Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb, with an egg wash. Again the ham was thick and tougher to cut. The cheese was creamy, light and flavorful. The texture of the breading was lovely! Definitely use thin ham slices next time.
Batch #2b with turkey bacon and Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb, with an egg wash. This chicken was lovely to cut into, it sliced cleanly and looks beautiful. You can see the juice glistening on the chicken. The texture of the chicken is perfect! The cheese is so creamy and flavorful! The smokiness of the bacon and the spices in the garlic & herb cheese are a wonderful combination. The contrast of the creamy cheese and the crunch of the breading is just delightful.
WINNER: BATCH 2B!! This Laughing Cow Chicken Cordon Bleu has a beautiful presentation. It was lovely to cut into, it sliced cleanly and looks like something you would order in a restaurant . You can see the juice glistening on the chicken. The aroma is heavenly. The texture of the chicken is perfect! The cheese is so creamy (like warm cream cheese) and flavorful! The smokiness of the bacon and the spices in the garlic & herb cheese are a wonderful combination. The contrast of the creamy cheese and the crunch of the breading is just delightful. Definitely going in my recipe file. A treat for your senses!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe - The Slow Roasted Italian.com