Around these parts, we call this dish Chicken Cord en Bleu. My version is not authentically French and growing up, my folks would serve it topped with chicken gravy made from a packet. No judgement here, I would still eat it like that today, pure comfort. However, I have updated the dish with a quick and super easy sauce.
BAKED CHICKEN SPIRALS:
1 cup of buttermilk
3 cups of panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of sage
1 teaspoon of salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 pound of deli ham off the bone
1/3 pound of fontina cheese, sliced thin
Olive oil and non stick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
On a plate, portion the cheese and ham you will use for this dish. Have your toothpicks ready too. Once you start messing with the chicken, you don’t want to cross contaminate.
Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, flour, sage, salt and pepper.
On a raw meat only cutting board, lay out the chicken breasts and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to carefully pound the chicken into a thinner piece of chicken. Careful though, there is a fine line between pounding the chicken thinly and tearing the chicken apart.
Remove the plastic from the chicken and discard. Take a slice or two of the fontina cheese and wrap the deli ham around the cheese. Then lay the ham and cheese on the chicken.
Start with the pointy end of the chicken and roll. Use the toothpicks to hold the spirals together. Once the spirals are stable, give them a bath in the egg and buttermilk mixture. Then firmly press each spiral into the panko coating. Watch out for those toothpicks!
Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil
Bake the chicken for 25-35 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, plate and top with the Lemon Dijon Cream Sauce. See below for the recipe.
Haricot verts or French style green beans are perfect accompaniments to this chicken. Lightly steam, then saute in some butter and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
LEMON DIJON CREAM SAUCE:
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of milk
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon of fresh dill
Salt and pepper
Have all your ingredients portioned and ready before you start the cooking process. Time moves fast here.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two.
Pour in the cream and milk mixture, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon zest and dill. Continue whisking for another minute. The sauce will start to thicken slightly. Salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle a few spoonfuls over the top of each chicken spiral.
PREPARATION TIP: Love this sauce? Try pairing with yellow fin tuna or grilled salmon.