A Little Taste of Paree: Le Chicken Cordon Bleu

I think the first time I heard about chicken cordon bleu was in Fight Club, where the main character talks about eating it on an airplane (this was while he was still lonely yuppie yearning to be free, before he *Spoiler alert!* blew up his apartment and became an underground anarchist leader. then I think he just ate the tears of capitalism). When my mom made it, I was skeptical. Cheese and ham, inside a chicken?!? I guess you could say it blew my mind. But it was good, and, she said, very easy to make. It also has a fancy name, which gives you extra points when you pull it out of the oven and say, Inspector Clouseau-like, "Yess, thees is my tre spesee-al deenerr: le shick-on cordohn bleh."

But, it's true that it's incredibly easy to make and, since it combines ham, cheese, chicken, bread, and lots of butter, it's the sort of meal where you can literally hear your arteries' faint protests. Last year, I taught it to my boyfriend's roommates, in a sort of Clara Barton, reach out to the lowlies, cooking lesson (boyfriend, as I remember, stayed rooted in front of the TV during this). While it may have been more blind leading the blind, I enjoyed at least successfully passing along my limited culinary knowledge.

Sadly, I haven't made chicken cordon bleu in a while, scared as I am of the monstrous caloric count. I'm sure there are "healthy" versions of this dish out there, but that, like non-alcoholic beer, just seems to miss the point.


2 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices deli-style ham
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Toothpicks or 2-3 pieces uncooked spaghetti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a small casserole dish
Halve the breasts lengthwise, so you have 4 long and thin pieces of chicken
Pound chicken--the thinner the better. If you don't have a meat pounder, cover the chicken with plastic wrap and pound with a heavy spoon.
Sprinkle sides of chicken with salt and pepper
Put half a slice of cheese and a slice of ham on each breast
Roll each breast and secure with a toothpick or a piece of uncooked spaghetti
Place in the dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs
Place a small lump of butter on each chicken piece
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Remove from oven, and place a cheese slice on top of each breast.
Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.

Image from myrecipes.com, although really every single image of chicken cordon bleu looks the same. Seriously GoogleImages search it. It's crazy.


  1. Unless you're talking about HUDS chicken cordon bleu. Then it looks different.

  2. Oooh true. Although HUDS anything was usually an educated guess as to its true origin