Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu & Chicken Fregula

Last weekend, I happened to be watching food network when a (new to me) show came on.   Secrets of a Restaurant Chef with Ann Burrell was the show and I enjoyed watching her and made a note to look for a particular side-dish that she’d made called fregula.  Basically, they’re little balls of pasta.  Bigger than a pastene but smaller than ummm… a ravioli LOL  Otherwise known as Isreali couscous, I managed to find it at the health food store in the bulk bin and it was very cheap.  I only bought what was about 1 cup because I didn’t know if we’d like it.   Then it sat in the paper bag for the last week and a half while I thought about how I’d like to make it.  I wasn’t going to make it like her, but haven’t been feeling really inventive in the kitchen as of late. (Read why on my other blog :S)

So this weekend, I was watching food network again and found myself drooling over Tyler Florence’s version of chicken cordon bleu.  I made sure to buy some proscuitto this weekend, and provolone cheese and then all that got thrown in the fridge as well LOL

Finally, I found the enthusiasm to cook tonight, and oh what a deliciouso dinner!  Give yourself some time for this – but believe me, it’s worth the effort.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out flat.
  • 2 slices of prosciutto ham
  • 2 slices provolone cheese cut in half
  • 2 eggs - scrambled
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour

I pounded out the chicken breasts with the flat side of my mallet while it was inside a storage bag.    Once they were all an even thickness, I took a slice of prosciutto and tore it down the center because it was quite thick and I didn’t want it to be overwhelming in the chicken.  I topped the ham with the 1/2 slice of provolone cheese.  I rolled the whole thing up slowly and and then wrapped the chicken in wax paper, keeping it tightly rolled.  Once they were all done, I put them in the freezer for approximately 40 minutes or so.

Once they were in the freezer, I began the preparation for the fregula.

Chicken Fregula

  • 1 cup fregula
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a 2 qt. saucepan, I melted the butter and added the olive oil (the olive oil helps  to keep the butter from burning).  To that, I added the onions and garlic and stirred it frequently to keep the garlic from burning.

Once the onions & garlic were softened, I added the fregula and mixed it in to be sure that it was all coated.  I added the 2 cups of chicken broth and brought it to a boil.  I then lowered the heat, covered the pan and simmered it while I began the prep for finishing the chicken. (probably about 20 minutes on low) – the fregula will absorb the broth, so keep an eye on it.

Back to the chicken, I scrambled the eggs into one bowl.  I placed the flour in another bowl.  In the third, I added the panko breadcrumbs, along with salt, pepper and just a sprinkling of  poultry seasoning.

I removed the packages of chicken from the freezer, where they’d stayed nice and cold, and therefore held together very well.  Working quickly, I dipped each chicken breast into the flour, coating it on all sides.  Then I dipped it into the egg and then finally coated it in the bread crumbs. 

In a skillet, I heated a Tbls. of canola oil and placed the breaded chickens into the skillet.  At this point, I don’t know WHY but I had the heat up too high and next thing I knew, I could smell burning breadcrumbs.  Gah!

So I took them out of the frying pan and placed them into an oven pan, put the oven on 425 and cooked them for roughly 30 minuts or so – I had the meat thermometer in them and took them out at 175°. They were moist & delicious! The fregula plumped up with the chicken broth and was just amazing.  (click on the photos for better detail)














Mike said...

Looks like a great dish!

You mentioned the pasta... The way I've seen it spelt is pastini. Interestingly, Pastene is a company that sells pastini pasta.