Chicken Cordon Bleu, Tyler’s Ultimate

by Bryan on October 21, 2009

One of my favorite Food Network shows is Tyler’s Ultimate. Each episode Tyler creates his “ultimate” version of a dish. My first attempt at one of his recipes was his Chicken Corden Bleu. This dish is a roulade, a  flattened chicken breast wrapped around ham and swiss, breaded, and then either baked or fried.

Tyler does three things to step up this dish:

  1. Prosciutto instead of ham
  2. Gruyere cheese
  3. Panko bread cumbs

This dish is baked, not fried, and the Panko bread crumbs make an excellent crust.

I usually try to do the recipe as written the first time, and this was no exception. I actually found it to be a bit too salty. When I went to Angelina Fine Italian Foods at Findlay Market, they actually recommended I use culatello. He explained that a lot of chefs use it in place of prosciutto in baked dishes. He also mentioned it was less salty. So, since that first try, I have used culatello as the ham. I am also a little more cautious of how much salt I use in the breading.

I am still a little unsure about copyrights and recipes, so since this recipe is easily accessible at FoodTv’s website, I’ll let you follow that link. What I will include is my commentary on key learnings, or modifications I made. Here is my ingredients shot:

I halfed the recipe, to make two servings. Clockwise from top left; panko bread crumbs, 2 half chicken breasts, culatello, sliced gruyere.

A Roulade

What we are creating here is a roulade. We need to:

  1. Flatten the Chicken
  2. Add the stuffing
  3. Roll the chicken
  4. Bread the roulade
  5. Bake

Flatten the Chicken

The first step is to flatten the half chicken breast to turn it from this:

Into this:

I used techniques from Tyler’s show as well as Alton Brown’s. Key points in a mallet:

  1. You want a large smooth surface to pound with (do not use the side with texture)
  2. Heavier is better
  3. Slow and steady saves the chicken from tearing
  4. Hit and slide off the meat, do not pound like a crazy man

Also, sandwiching the breast between two layers of plastic wrap, and getting them wet helps avoid tear-inducing friction.

Add the Stuffing

Next you layer the stuffing. I first put one slice of culatello:

Then added the slices of gruyere:

I did not like the slices. I would (and have all other times) get a block of gruyere and grate it. That worked better in my opinion.

Roll the Chicken

Rolling is a bit of an art. Here again, plastic wrap plays an important part. You actually use the wrap to help roll the chicken. You tighten the wrap around the roll, then twist the ends like a tootsie roll wrapper. In the end you end up with something like this:

The ends are twisted tight and tucked underneath. The key technique here was putting the wrapped roulade in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. This helped the roulade to retain its shape without strings or toothpicks. I was suspicious of this, but it worked like a charm. You did need to be delicate with the roulade when breading in the next step.

Bread the Roulade

Breading was very easy. You need three bowls: flour, egg, and bread crumbs. You salt and pepper all three bowls, add Fresh Thyme, Garlic, and melted butter to the bread crumbs. Then it is three steps:

  1. Lightly cover roulade in flour, shaking off excess.
  2. Roll into egg mixture, getting all sides.
  3. Roll into bread crumb mixture, getting all sides.

It is important to do this gently so the roulade does not unroll. Here they are breaded and in a pyrex loaf pan:

Bake

I found the baking took a little longer than stated. I always use a meat thermometer, so I waited until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees. Make sure you put the thermometer tip in the thickest part of the chicken.

Results

At the time, this was easily the most impressive thing I had made (more on the successor later). I love the substitution of more flavorful ingredients, and think the culatello and gruyere really improve this dish. The nice thing about these ingredients is you can use less of both versus the standard ham and cheese and still get an incredible flavor.

It is a little time consuming, it is important to give the roulade time in the fridge. However this has definitely earned a permanent spot in our dinner rotation.

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