Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bacon

A.K.A The best thing that could ever happen to chicken breasts.

I am once again back to the grind of New York life, the hours of school work and trying to throw together dinner for the boyfriend and myself at 6 hours of lectures.

But tonight, something wonderful happened. I had an odd craving for Chicken Cordon Bleu, and while perusing my cabinet I lacked ham but found bacon. I deemed this to be porky enough and began to create what my boyfriend dubbed Chicken Cordon Bacon.

Granted, it did take several more ingredients than a typical college kid has lying around the apartment, but the beauty of this dish is that it can be made with whatever happens to be in the cupboard that day.

So I started out on the stove top, in my beloved cast iron skillet (trust me, that pan can do anything) melting a little bit of butter. Just enough so the chicken doesn't stick. Go with what you feel.

While that's melting into pools of goodness, I CAREFULLY trimmed the chicken breasts, and sliced them almost in half horizontally. My goal here was to butterfly the chicken breast, so it can be opened like a book and hide all sorts of fun things inside. Don't cut too far because A) it will be very difficult to keep your cheeses on the inside, and B) that's where your fingers are!

Once the chicken was opened like a book, I began to fill it with cheese, something any good college fridge should have.  (I mean really, how are you making grilled cheese and nachos without it?)

I used a combination of White American (boyfriend likes it on his sandwiches, there is no shame in using slices cheese here), shredded cheddar (aforementioned nachos), and Parmesan.

Then season, with whatever you have around. I used salt, pepper, oregano, and some mustard powder, but the dish will be just as tasty if all you have available are salt and pepper packets "borrowed" from on campus.

Then I closed my chicken books. Now, the fun part. I wrapped each chicken breast with a strip of raw bacon. This kept both the chicken book closed during cooking and adds delicious bacon-y flavor the the cheese filled chicken.

I sprinkled my chicken with a very little bit of bread crumbs. This isn't vital, but I think it added a nice ending color and crunch.

I then transfered the bacon wrapped chicken to the skillet of melted butter, moved that into the oven, and baked the chicken at 375 for 35 minutes. Make sure your chicken in cooked all the way through before consumption!

I topped my chicken off with a very quick and easy sauce, that everyone should be able to make.

College B├ęchamel Sauce - Best over Chicken Cordon Bacon

2 tablespoons of Butter
1 and a half tablespoons of Flour
3/4 of a cup of Milk
A pinch of Italian Seasoning
A pinch of "Emeril's Essence"(I bought mine in a bottle, but it can be made)
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Butter

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and mix in the flour. If it looks doughy, that can be fixed when you add the milk, but this should be a glue-y looking mixture.

Add the milk, and mix throughly. This might take some work to get everything incorporated. Trust me, your work will be rewarded.

Once the milk looks like it is beginning to thicken, add all spices and mix. Taste the sauce. Add spices to taste.

Turn off sauce once seasoned, stir in the last tablespoon of butter. This will give the sauce a nice consistency and sheen.

A picture of the finished product, originally taken by my boyfriend to send to a friend, to gloat about his bacon wrapped dinner.