Week 52

Chicken Cordon Bleu

[taken from page 306 of “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook”]

Notes: Here we are, at the end of the journey. There’s a lot that I’d like to say about the last year and what I’ve done with this Cooking Goal, but I’ll leave that for a more lengthy blog post.

Lessons:
1. If you’re not mad with the chicken when you start this recipe, you sure will be when you’re done with it. I say this because trying to take an inch thick chicken breast and pound it down to 1/4 of an inch takes a lot of violence. Needless to say, my counter tops were sufficiently rattled. I found that if you start beating at the thick sections and work your way out, it tends to end up pretty uniform, albeit the skin sometimes doesn’t always stay intact.
2. Once again, I have found that Chicken breasts don’t come in packages that easily produce the 8 required for the recipe, so I went ahead and did nine. My reasoning was that at the very worst, I’d be able to freeze a bunch of the completed recipe without going through all the prep work again.
3. Plastic wrap is the bane of my existence. Honestly, I can never get it to tear correctly.
4. This recipe seemed strangely familiar to the Crispy Chicken Parmesan recipe. Probably because it’s from the same recipe book. Although this one calls for a lot more oil. About 6 times more. What we’re essentially doing here is frying little bundled chicken rolls of joy.
5. The key to this recipe is process. Once you get the method of preparing the chicken rolls down, the process is quick and painless. It’s the same for breading the chicken rolls and frying them as well.

The Gold Medal . . . silverware

Final Analysis: This is one of those recipes that I have always felt is “off limits”. As in, the complication involved in making it is greater than what you get out of the recipe. However, seeing as this is one of my favorite recipes of all time, I decided that I should at least take a crack at it. Honestly, this recipe does take a lot of patience and a lot of preparation, and at least a few times when I was pounding away at the stubborn chicken or waiting for the oil to heat up that I wondered if it would be worth it. Then I took the first bite. It’s very difficult to adequately describe the sensation that went on. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to the frozen chicken cordon bleu, or even the Arby’s sandwich, because this was far too great a difference in excellence. But that wasn’t completely it. Sure, the chicken was moist and succulent, and the coating crispy and delicious, but the real taste I had was the taste of victory.

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