Cheater Cordon Bleu

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This one is easy awesomeness.  There’s bacon, there’s minimal work, there’s nommage.
How could that be anything less?

As the title suggests, it’s an easy variant of a Chicken Cordon Bleu, but in all reality it’s an improved version.  Everything is better with bacon, right?

Chicken Cordon Bleu, but with bacon!

Cheater Cordon Bleu

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 363g
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 776 Calories from Fat 366.3
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40.7g 63%
Saturated Fat 15.1g 76%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 258mg 86%
Sodium 1014mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 9.8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0.9g
Protein 84.5g 169%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

So, we’ll set the oven for 350F and get whatever we need for sides together.  Next, non-stick (canola) spray the inside of a casserole – 9″x9″ would be preferred for two people, or a 9″x13″ for more – and start with the only real hard part to this dish.  If you have really thick chicken breasts, whack ’em with a mallet a few times to even them out,but don’t make them to thin.  Then, carefully cut each breast half-way through the thickness, until you can open the chicken up like a butterfly (this is called ‘butterflying the chicken, in technical terms).

Then, for each piece of chicken (it’s usually best to do these steps to each chicken breast in turn):

Place a piece of Swiss cheese across the butterfly, and roll it up.  Which way to roll it depends on the chicken breast, but usually it’s pretty obvious.
Wrap the roll in bacon, securing it with toothpicks or skewers as necessary.  Try and cover as much chicken as possible, without too much bacon overlap.
Set it in the casserole, and repeat as necessary.

And, throw it in the oven and wait 20 minutes while the sweet, sweet smell of cooking bacon permeates the house.

After 20 minutes of torture, open the oven and add a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Try and get most of it in the bottom of the pan, but don’t worry about it too much.  Back in the oven for ten minutes, which for veggies and pasta there should be enough time to prepare them.  Rices and the like take around 20-30 minutes, so start those accordingly.

Take the chicken out of the oven and plate.  It’s generally considered good form to remove the toothpicks/skewers, but only if you’re going to remove all of them.  No one likes that kind of surprise.  Set them aside and return to the casserole.

The casserole goes on the stove at a low heat, and start stirring vigorously. Add flour to thicken the gravy, a little at a time, until the chicken juices are incorporated.  Immediately remove from heat and top the chicken, add sides, and serve.

And now, time for the shopping list:

  • Thick-cut bacon of your preference.  I like Applewood-smoked personally.
  • Chicken breasts – one per person, generally
  • Swiss cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Toothpicks or small skewers.  I’ve been liking the latter lately
  • One can of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Flour
  • Whatever side dishes you like.
And a footnote – this dish can be easily made by one person, but it’s awfully nice to have a helper around in a few places.  First and foremost, having someone hand you Swiss cheeses and bacon while you wrap not only makes the process go faster, but it also helps keep from contaminating the uncooked foods.  Having someone around to deal with the chicken as it comes out (i.e., removing skewers) also helps smooth the process.