Chicken Cordon Bleu. Probably one of the first “fancy” things that I learned to cook. Maybe it was the name that made it fancy? Maybe I had it one time when I was out to eat at a “fancy” restaurant? I remember struggling to wrap the chicken breast with the ham and cheese, of using a toothpick to keep it secure. It was both “fancy” to me and delicious. I probably even made my mom get out the linen napkins and crystal goblets the first few times I made it.
I haven’t made Chicken Cordon Bleu in a very long time. I guess this dish has been replaced with my new idea of “fancy”. This version of chicken cordon bleu is easier, no toothpicks necessary. The twist is stuffing your jumbo shells with the chicken, cheese and bacon. (This version subs bacon for ham, but feel free to use ham if that’s what you prefer.).
CORDON BLEU STUFFED SHELLS WITH CRISPY BACON
9 jumbo Pasta Shells
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 lb. diced or cubed Chicken Breast
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/4 cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of crispy Bacon, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the shells and cook according to package directions, stirring to make sure the pasta shells don’t stick. Remove shells from pot, rinse and set aside to cool before filling.
Meanwhile, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, diced chicken, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook the chicken until no longer pink about five minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until a roux or paste forms. Gradually add the milk and continue to stir until thickened. Remove skillet from heat. Add the chicken, 1 cup Swiss cheese, salt and pepper.
Spray an large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Take about one tablespoon of the chicken filling and put it inside the shell. Repeat until all shells have been used. Top the shells with the remaining 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, cover the top with foil, and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh chives and crispy bacon.