Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

We recently enjoyed Chicken Cordon Bleu when my mom made it for us around Christmas time. (My 8-year old especially enjoyed it!)  When we got back home, I was inspired to make this recipe I'd had pinned forever, but never made.  This is a nice recipe in that you can prepare it in the morning, stick it in the fridge, and then bake when you're ready to eat.  You can also use rotisserie chicken.  Here in Italy, the chickens are so small that I used two for this recipe.  If you have huge American chickens, one is probably enough.  (Always simmer the carcass with some veggies and herbs to make a great broth after removing the meat!)  
The original blog has this just served as-is, but I thought it was weird not to put it over rice or something.  So we had it over rice, and I loved it!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
adapted from Full Fork Ahead

1 whole cooked chicken, bones removed, meat diced or shredded (like rotisserie chicken, should have 5-6 cups)
1/2 pound very thinly sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
1/4 pound thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons butter*
4 tablespoons flour
3 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the topping:
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Cooked Rice, for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.  Put cooked shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.

2.  To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux.  Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

3.  To make the topping: Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stove, turn off the heat, and stir in the panko bread crumbs, pepper, and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.**

4.  Bake casserole uncovered for 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

*If you are worried about salt, you can use unsalted butter and then add salt if needed.  The rotisserie chicken, and especially the ham and cheese, contain quite a bit of salt already.  I used salted butter and added no extra salt.

**At this point, you can stick the whole thing in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.  When ready to bake, take out of the fridge and set on counter while oven preheats.  Bake for 40 minutes or until heated through and bubbly and topping is browned.
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