We’re had my best friend Kim (from university) and her husband Michael for dinner last night, and planning a meal for them is always a challenge. Kim is allergic to gluten, potatoes, and soy; Michael doesn’t eat anything with nuts or onions or anything that is very different! The dinner was a huge success and I was relieved!
I always try to make interesting, but safe meals (safe meaning Michael will eat it!) and that’s when I thought of a contemporary twist on Chicken Cordon Bleu! The first time I had Chicken Cordon Bleu was at my future (at the time) mother-in-law’s home; they were store bought, with chunks of ham and swiss cheese stuffed into a breaded, seasoned chicken breast. I can still taste the salt! My version will not be as bad for you, and it will be home-made.
Hors d’oeuvres: Sesame Crackers and warm Caramelized Onion Cheddar Dip (I used roasted garlic for this version)
Appetizer: old fashioned shrimp cocktail with Wasabi cocktail sauce (ketchup, wasabi (to taste) and about 1/2 tsp fresh micro-ground ginger)
Chicken Cordon Bleu with a creamy mushroom sauce
Cauliflower and white bean mash
Asparagus with butter and garlic
Dessert: Molten chocolate cake with a berry sauce.
These are delicious!
- 3 cups blanched almond flour (UPDATED: works much better with unblanched ground almonds)
- 1½ teaspoons celtic sea salt
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 2 eggs, whisked until frothy
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended
- Separate dough into two halves
- Line two large (12 x 16) stainless steel baking sheets with parchment paper
- Place one half of the dough in the center of each lined sheet
- Cut another piece of parchment paper and place it over one of the balls of dough
- Roll dough out between the two pieces of parchment paper, until it is ⅛ inch thick and covers the entire baking sheet; remove top paper and repeat process with the other piece of dough (Note from Eva: use a flavoured olive oil)
- Cut the dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 2 inch squares
- Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown
- Cool and serve
Makes 96 crackers
Contemporary Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 4 5-6 oz skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts.
- 8 slices of Proscuito
- 8 slices of smoked cheese (I used Manitoba Smoked Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (home made or low sodium)
- Butterfly the chicken breast. Put one into a zip lock baggy and lay as flat as possible. Flatten the chicken using a meat pounder (flat, not ridged) to an even thickness. Repeat for all chicken breasts.
- On each chicken breast place two slices of Proscuito and 2 slices of cheese to cover the breast.
- Roll tightly with remaining Proscuito, securing with butcher string. Store in refrigerator until required.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Using a well seasoned cast iron skillet with a squirt of Pam, brown chicken rolls on all sides.
- Add wine and chicken stock, cover with foil and finish baking in oven (until chicken juices run clear). Reserve liquid, if any.
- Serve sliced into 1/2 inch slices on a bed of Cauliflower and White Bean mash.
Cauliflower and White Bean Mash
I got the idea of mixing white beans with cauliflower to beef up the creaminess of the cauliflower (and white beans won’t change the colour of the cauliflower!).
- 1 head cauliflower (about 1kg)
- 25g dried white or navy beans (prepare according to package directions – use water to rehydrate)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup sweet Mayan onion
- Steam cauliflower and garlic clove until very soft (steaming as opposed to roasting to preserve the whiteness).
- Prepare white beans according to directions, add onions and cook until everything is soft.
- In a food processor, process cauliflower and white beans mix and garlic to a fine paste.
- This is a very important step: Strain the processed mix through a fine sieve (this step will remove the bean skins which will be coarse and ensure the mash is really creamy and smooth!)
- Keep warm over a bain-marie. The steamed cauliflower should have enough liquid to make a thick creamy mash, but if it is too thick, add a bit of chicken stock.
‘Creamy’ Mushroom Sauce (adapted from Epicurious)
- 1 cups home-made or canned low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 ounce dried forest mushroom mix rehydrated in 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp brandy or cognac
- 1/2 cup low fat cream (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- The night before, rehydrate forest mushrooms with water in refrigerator.
- Strain the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter, reserve.
- Rinse hydrated mushroom carefully (these are often very sandy, so rinse well). Set aside.
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in a cast iron sauce pan, add onions and cook until soft.
- Add 1/2 the sliced brown mushrooms. Cook until soft. The mushrooms will release quite a bit of water, this will help make the sauce!
- Add the garlic and then add the reserved mushroom liquid and reserved chicken liquid.
- Transfer this mushroom mix into a blender and blend until smooth, add cream. You may add chicken stock until desired consistency is achieved.
- Strain through a fine sieve, set aside. Discard bits.
- Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter in the sauce pan. Add the forest mushrooms and remaining sliced brown mushrooms. Cook until soft.
- Add brandy or cognac and cook until alcohol has burned off.
- Pour the reserved strained mushroom sauce into the pan and mix thoroughly with the chopped mushrooms.
- Add fresh chopped parsley.
- Serve in a warm gravy boat and allow people to help themselves.