Chicken Cordon Bleu with Risotto alla Milanese and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Tonight we cooked just a little bit upscale, but classic.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Ingredients
1/8″ thick deli ham, 1 per cordon bleu
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into cutlets
1/8″ thick slices of swiss cheese, 1 per cordon bleu
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (approximately, adding more as needed)
1/2 cup flour (approximately, adding more as needed)
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
salt and pepper.
olive oil and butter, 1.5 tbsp each

Method
Slice each chicken breast in half, then pound each to 1/8″ thick. Place a slice of ham, cut 1/2 the size of the chicken piece, on top of the chicken. Place a similarly sized slice of cheese on it, season lightly with salt and pepper and then fold the chicken closed.

Place flour, seasoned with salt and pepper in one bowl, beaten egg with water added in another bowl, and next to that, the bread crumbs in a 3rd bowl, next to the first two. Finally place a plate next to the last bowl.

Dredge the folded chicken through the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. When they are all dredged, pan fry them in 3 tbsps of a half and half butter/olive oil mixture over medium heat until they are golden brown. If you need to, you can finish them in the oven for a few minutes at 250. This really isn’t rocket science.

Since the chicken is thin, it should stay closed without a problem.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Ingredients
1.5 to 2lbs Brussels Sprouts
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Method
Toss the sprouts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. They should be *salty* but not ridiculously so.

Roast them, uncovered in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Stir them around about halfway through cooking so they don’t burn. They can be covered with foil if they look as though they’re going to get too brown. They should be quite browned and crunch on the outsides though.

Risotto alla Milanese
Ingredients
2 cups arborio rice
1 medium onion, diced
3tbsp butter
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano-reggiano (or grana padano) cheese
1/2 to 1tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of saffron threads, ground with a few grains of salt (starting with powdered saffron is ok, but not quite the same)

Method
Heat 1 quart of chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan, and the wine.
Sautee the onion in the butter in a large, straight walled skillet, until translucent.
Add the rice to the pan, and let it toast for a minute or so, stirring it. Reduce heat to medium low.
Add a ladle full of the broth/wine mixture, and stir it into the rice.
Slowly add a ladle of broth at a time, constantly stirring the rice. Top off the broth pan now and then. As the rice takes up the broth, add more broth to the rice. The whole process will probably take up the full 2 quarts of broth, plus some additional water if you need it, and the better part of half an hour to 45 minutes. The idea is that the rice cooks and breaks down, releasing starch a little at a time, which thickens the broth. When the rice is just done, add the saffron, using hot broth or water to clean out the mortar and pestle that I hope you ground the saffron in. Finally, add the cheese, adjust the consistency with additional water, and serve.

There is a prior risotto recipe on the blog, but the proportions aren’t really as accurate as the could be – the method description may be more complete, however.

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