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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher.

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Even though there are a lot of steps in the recipe and it takes some time, I guarantee this will be the BEST Cordon Bleu you've ever had! I combined three different recipes to form my own for the chicken and used Julia Child's velouté as a basis for my Mornay Sauce. Sure to impress anyone!

Preparation Time: 3 Hours    Serving Size: 4

  • 3 cups water, 1 cup ice
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1/4 cup good smoked ham (Black Forest), chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn flakes, crushed or panko
  • Vegetable oil
  • Mornay sauce

Make a brine by heating 1 cup of water in a 4-cup glass measuring cup in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. No need to bring it to the boil. Carefully add both 1/8 cups of salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add 1 cup of ice and stir to melt. Fill up to the 4 cup line and pour into a large bowl.

Place 1 chicken breast half, boned side up, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; sprinkle lightly with water on both sides. Working from center, lightly pound chicken with flat side of a mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick; remove from wrap and place in the brine. Repeat with remaining breasts. Cover brine and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but no more than an hour. Drain brine, lightly rinse chicken and dry well.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the shredded Swiss cheese and all the chopped ham. Spread each chicken breast evenly with 1/2 teaspoon mustard each, if using. Place one-forth of the cheese mixture on center of each breast. Bring one end of breast over cheese mixture. Fold in sides; roll up jellyroll style, pressing ends to seal. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. In medium bowl, combine egg and water. In shallow pan, combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roll chicken in the flour covering completely. Shake off excess. Carefully roll each in the egg mixture. Next roll each in the panko or crushed corn flakes. Set back on the plate, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°. Heat one inch of oil in small skillet over medium heat. Fry each chicken roll about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Place in 8-inch square baking dish. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until juices run clear. Serve with Mornay Sauce shown below. Prepare Mornay sauce while chicken cools.

Mornay Sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to blend in the flour. Stir over moderate heat until the butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes. Do not let the roux color more than a buttery yellow. Remove from heat. When the bubbling stops, pour in all but 1/2 cup of the combined hot milk and hot stock all at once, whisking vigorously to blend. Then whisk rather slowly over moderately high heat, being sure to stir bottoms and sides of pan. Thin sauce slowly with remainder of combined liquid. It is not necessary to use all of the liquid; however, most will be used. When sauce reaches temperature, simmer 2 to 3 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon. Sauce is finished when it coats the wooden spoon well. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool several minutes. When sauce has cooled considerably, slowly whisk in cheese. If added while the sauce is too hot, the cheese will become stringy. If the sauce becomes stringy, bring it back to heat and add a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

Serve by placing a few tablespoons of Mornay sauce on a plate. Top with the baked chicken. More Mornay sauce may be spooned over the chicken or served on the side in a custard cup.

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