18 January 2009

Comforting Chicken Cordon Bleu with Wine Sauce

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Wine Sauce
There's a compelling reason for the pint of premium ice cream in the freezer, the supply of candy bars in the office desk drawer, or the collection of pasta in the pantry. These are all examples of comfort food, those "must have" foods which provide a sense of nostalgia or self-satisfaction in each of us.
"Comfort food" is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated, readily available and easy to prepare. Many people turn to "comfort food" for familiarity, emotional security, or to reward themselves for a job well done. The reasons a dish becomes a comfort food to you personally are diverse and known only to you, but, often include a flash back to childhood and simpler times. As an adult we eat comfort food for a sense of continuity which supplies a welcome respite from the stresses outside our own little world.

Did you know that the term "comfort food" was even added to the Webster's Dictionary in 1972?

1) Certain foods that people associate with their formative years, or with "home"; frequently simple home-cooked style food, and often the staple of diners and other informal restaurants.

2) Food that one eats to feel comfort or alleviate stress rather than to receive nutrition.

"Comfort food" is not designed to be especially healthy or politically correct but that is not necessarily always the case. For you maybe comfort is in a slice of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, or a heaping plate of macaroni and cheese, or a welcoming slice of chocolate cake? Nothing terribly unhealthy there...right...right....Insert picture of Val nodding her head. Maybe it's something less familiar to others but that your family has prepared and eaten around the table for generations?

One thing is certain..... Comfort food is personal!!!!!


One past time that I find comforting is reading. A little while back I won a novel from Glamah at Coco Cooks . Reading has taken a backburner to our Social Network BloggerAid and our fundraising cookbook but I finally finished the novel this weekend. The book is called The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. It is essentially a true story of a woman in her early 30's who loses her job in the corporate world and leaves the comfort and security to follow her dream to attend the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. She overcomes adversity even with the language barrier and ultimately realizes her own strength during her time there as she accomplishes her goals. She receives her diploma despite being told that she is "wasting her time". Read Coco's review of the book here.

In this novel you get two for one with a recipe at the end of each chapter. Each is one of the many recipes from the over 300 dishes she masters at The Cordon Bleu. Head on over to the Kathleen Flinn Website and get instructions for Book Club dinners, etc.

More recently I also won a novel from J. Danger of This Dangerous Life called Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore. It is another true story about the lives of 3 very different people and how their lives intertwined. I have yet to read this book but will let you know. It comes highly recommended!!!!

From the first book The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry I chose to prepare this Chicken Cordon Bleu. The Paris based cooking school has nothing to do with this dish and Kathleen did not even prepare it in any of her classes. The specific origins of the dish remain a mystery, but the original (with veal) is a likely cousin to Germany's schnitzel family and may have originated in Austria. I found it appealing. What did I find so comforting about this dish? Well.. sauce for one. It reminds me of my early days of creating chicken dishes with wine sauce...plus...anything in a breaded coating is comforting to me!!!!

One word of caution....when taking photos make sure the vacuum is put away......wink...wink....

**Chicken Cordon Bleu with Wine Sauce**

4 chicken breasts, about 6 ounces (170 grams) each
coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper
4 teasppon Dijon mustard4 slices (2 - 3 ounces) Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyere
4 slices (about 2 ounces) very thinly slices prosciutto or ham
1 cup (1bout 100 grams) flour
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 cup (about 100 g) seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup (250 mL) cold milk or cream
salt, freshly ground pepper to tasted
1 tablespoon grated Gruyere cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Butterfly each chicken breast, using a sharp knife to carefully cut into one side until it opens like a book. Season the interior with salt and pepper and coat with 1 tsp mustard. Top with a slice of cheese, then a slice of prosciutto or ham. Close and secure with string or toothpicks, or wrap them in caul fat. (My trick to hold them together is to use dried spaghetti in place of toothpicks; it basically disappears during cooking). Dredge this chicken preparation in flour, then dip it in the beaten egg, and then finally roll it in breadcrumbs. Repeat for the other breasts. bake in a dish lined with parchment paper or foil for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the parcels are firm to the touch and juices running from the chicken are clear and no longer pink, and a meat thermometer reaches 180F/80C.

Heat the wine in a saucepan over high heat and reduce by half. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. keep warm until ready to add to the sauce below. (Don't skip this step your sauce will break)

In another saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat until bubbly. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for 8 - 10 minutes, until it smells like popcorn. Add the cold milk and whisk in completely. Whisk in the wine-stock mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Adjust consistency by adding more stock if sauce is too thick. If desired, add in the grated cheese. Remove the string from the chicken. Top with the sauce.

Serves 4

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Comfort food for me is always warm and smooth, like mashed potatoes, soups, marinara....

  2. My comfort food.....mmmmm let me think!!! Aahh, long vinegary hot chips eaten out of a newspaper....you have the fish!
    Chicken Cordon Blue is the first thing I ordered in a restaurant, for real(many moons ago!)

  3. Ah, comfort food. For me, it follows #1 in the definition ... reminds me of formative years - home. I don't think I ever ate this growing up, but I'm certainly ready to add it to my list of comfort foods. I'm not familiar with caul fat, so I'd have to go with the toothpicks. I love anything made with Gruyere cheese! I just know I'd make yummy noises eating this! YUM!

  4. Hmm there's so many! Pancakes, probably, but I can't narrow it down.

  5. Comfort food is an expression we don't have in Greek and it took me a while to understand what everybody was talking about. I suppose, all Greek food is comfort food for me. Your chicken gordon blue sounds delicious. I've made similar recipes but without the dredging and the sauce.

  6. There is only one comfort food for me - pasta pasta and more pasta!! This dish looks so yummy

  7. Glad you finsihed it. I know your crazy busy. I dont care aboput the orgins, Chicken Corson Bleu is always fantastic.

  8. comfort food - anything i didn't have to cook, served up to me, with no washing up afterwards...

  9. That cordon bleu looks tender and delicous, vacuum cleaner or not! I think its the oozing cheese that makes it true comfort food.

  10. hey! Great job Val! Thanks for the shout out. Did you like the book?

  11. Comfort food for me is my dad's pastitso...always brings back memories! Love this dish Val!

  12. Comfort food is anything I make that reminds me my childhood. I like to make these dish and talk about them to my kids.

    I just ordered the book: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, at the library after I read about it on your blog.

    This meal looks lovely. We love Chicken Cordon Bleu.

  13. For me it's baked potatoes...I ate so many as a child...guess that's why I'm a potato ho! This sounds wonderfully comforting!

  14. hmmm, comfort food. Chicken Pot pie. I love it.

    Your chicken cordon bleu looks delicious!

  15. Very Yummy! My comfort food is Kheema - mince meat curry, eaten with loads of rice or even noodles.

  16. Oooh, chicken cordon bleu! That and chicken kiev were my all-time favourites for years (you'd neve guess I grew up in the 1970s/80s would you?!) Yours looks divine. My comfort food is definitely sausages and mash, made with South African boerewors sausage :)

  17. how picturesque! if you're gonna combine meats, this is the way to do it. comfort food indeed. :)

  18. Ooh, I haven't had this in so long.. and I could really use the comfort food right now, burried under yet another snow storm!
    This looks so good. - And I have the same plates!

  19. Back in the 70s when my mom used to have dinner parties she would make Chicken Cordon Bleu. It looked exactly like yours! Thanks for taking me back!

  20. I love to hear about all your comfort foods!!!

  21. I love creamy dreamy foods too, growing up it was chicken and dumplings, but now polenta and gooey cheesy things are up there. Oddly enough popcorn is something that I love and takes me back always to my childhood and watching movies or reading a good book. [you lucky girl winning all these books, the first one sounds very interesting indeed!] Popcorn is not on the Italian top ten favorites, so I always feel it is a bit of a guilty pleasure, especially if I am enjoying it with a good book, which for me too has also been relegated to just before going to sleep.

  22. My comfort food is noodles (and it can be Asian or or Italian)!

  23. Ah, yes - comfort food.
    You can't beat roasted garlic mashed potatoes, in my book. But, a nice big bowl of roasted root vegetables with a slice of crusty bread and some red wine can also get me going on a cold winter's night!

  24. I have many comfort foods, Val, but mashed poatoes have to be somewhere in my top three I think.

  25. Interesting post, Val. My comfort food without question is...PASTA! In fact, I'm going to have some of yesterday's leftovers very soon and I'm feeling really 'comforted'.

  26. This looks great, Val. I like the use of gruyere over plain ol' swiss. Comfort food for me is usually the heavy, bad stuff. lol. I love macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with butter and gravy. I also feel like any kind of slow cooked meat is comforing. Lamb and orzo baked in the oven (arni youvetsi) has always been one of my biggest comforts - not just because of the meat and pasta but because it brings back a lot of familial memories.

  27. Val, your chicken Cordon Bleu turned out fantastically!

    For me, the ultimate comfort food has to be mom's Avgolemeno Soup, made with real chicken broth of course.

  28. I enjoyed reading this post. Comfort food? There's so many... I can narrow it down to 3 dishes: lasagne, chicken and noodles, and pot pie. Notice the starchy content in all of them? Hmmm...

  29. Mmmmm- I love this dish. Wine sauce does sound comforting too. My all time fave comfort food is carbonara!

  30. I love that your chicken has a sauce - that is comfort food to me.

  31. Oooohhh...chicken Cordon Bleu sounds like perfect comfort food, but I always make a mess of anything I have to roll up. Of course, even if it doesn't turn out picture perfect, the taste is usually still there! Gosh...I really like chicken curries, homemade macaroni, chicken and rice, things like that when I'm not in the mood to worry about calories and can indulge in heaping portions of comfort foods. :-)


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