chicken cordon bleu, brussel sprouts and walnuts with a lemon dijonnaise

Chicken has been something of a crapshoot lately. I never know what is safe to eat anymore. What are we really eating… Is “organic” really organic? You can drive yourself crazy overthinking every company. Once you’re sure you’ve found a good one, there’s a recall. In the end, you just do the best you can. I think we can trust certain brands and then leave the rest to fate. Which is what I did here.

Then again, I left it to my husband to eat it so, only time will tell.

The night is young.

My mother made cordon bleu for us growing up and she has been the only one who has served it to me. Not at one restaurant have I ordered it. Making it at home was surprisingly simple and the pickiest eater (with chicken) gave this an emphatic thumbs-up.

I decided that since I was going to add extra cheese and mayo to this, the side needed to be simple and healthy. Walnuts are a powerhouse for your heart and brussel sprouts are little gems filled with fiber. The sauce was a simple dijonnase of mayo, olive oil and mustard. I mixed in a bit of lemon juice as well.

You will need:

  • Brussel sprouts (fresh or frozen)
  • Walnuts (chopped)
  • Dill (dried)
  • Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Mayo
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ham deli slices (get honey baked ham slices if you can)
  • Spinach
  • Chicken fillets (breasts)
  • Cheese (we used parmesan but you can use any shredded cheese you like)
  • Lemon juice
  • Egg
  • Panko
  • Grated parmesan

If you purchased frozen brussel sprouts start to defrost them in while you prep your chicken. I place everything I need out already so that I don’t contaminate anything I plan to reuse in the future with my hands after handling the chicken. Put your mayo in a bowl with some dill and a spoon. Take out some ham deli slices, salt and pepper, spinach leaves as well. I used twine to close my chicken so, I precut and got them ready.

Butterfly your fillet and place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or in a sandwich baggie you are going to get rid of. Take something hard and start pounding out the chicken flatter and wider.

When done, remove the chicken and take the spoon you have placed aside with the mayo and dill and put as much as you’d like in the middle of the chicken, spreading just a bit.

What this will do, is keep the chicken moist and flavorful after cooking. After this layer, place the spinach as the leaves will stick to the mayo and then sprinkle the cheese.

Finally, place the ham slices and start to fold the edges of the chicken in (like a burrito). Because I needed to close the ends, I also wrapped them in the twine. At this point, you could just bake the chicken or cook it on a sauté pan with some olive oil.

I decided to continue with the program and bread this chicken up. Create your dredging station of flour, egg and bread crumbs. In the dish with the flour, stir in some salt and pepper. In your egg dish, add some water. In your panko dish, add salt, pepper, basil and parmesan cheese.

Start with flour, then dunk in the egg mixture and finish with the panko. Make sure everything is covered and then place on a baking sheet and cook on 350 for 40 minutes (most people will say to cook for 30 minutes however, my chicken is always still a little pink so, I will advise 40 minutes).

Make sure you thoroughly clean all your surfaces from the chicken!

While the chicken cooks, slice your brussel sprouts in half if smaller and in quarters if larger (trimming the hard end of the fresh ones). Cook them in a sauté pan with olive oil, pouring in some of your crushed walnuts and topping with dill and some grated parm. Leave it on medium low and stir when you think to as the cheese and juices from the brussel sprouts will stick a bit to the pan (however, this makes for crispy crunchy portions).

Take the chicken out of the oven letting it rest for five minutes to settle all the juices.

Clean and place some of your fresh basil aside. Smaller pieces, place in the sautee pan with the sprouts and the others you will place with the chicken. Put some mustard, mayo and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Start to whisk it all together while you pour in a bit of your olive oil to emulsify everything. Take a taste and see if it needs anything; this will be a sauce made to taste and no specific measurements are necessary.

When ready, slice a bit into your chicken releasing the twine and trim it with a pair of scissors. Removing the twine will free up some of the crispy panko but it goes right back into place with little effort. You can also use skewers instead of twine in the future, or, just fold the chicken with practice so you don’t need to use anything to keep it together at all.

Slice it in as equal parts as you can, placing it over some of your lemon dijonaise with the vegetables on the side. Place some more sauce on the table incase there isn’t enough. The first bite of the chicken will introduce the dill taste immediately. That sweet dill goes perfectly with the ham slices and finishes with the basil parmesan crunchy panko… The brussel sprouts with the walnuts and seasonings come out soft with crispy edges from the cheese. Everything combines perfectly with the lemon juice in the tangy mustard sauce.

Each piece would also be wonderful on a plate by itself as an appetizer.

This is another elegant looking dish that only took one baking sheet and one sauté pan. A little effort… And trust.

Below you will see the table setting for this meal: Bona china from Lenox and Royal Worchester. Silverware from Napoleon Bee. Copper pan from Placemat, napkin and mother of pearl napkin ring from Pier 1. Crystal from Waterford.

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