I realize I’ve been a little heavy-handed recently with the cast iron skillet use. One the one hand, I’m sorry I’m not more creative. On the other hand, it’s so convenient and also looks nice in pictures, so let’s just not worry about fixing what’s not broken, ok?
Ok! I’m glad we had that talk and also thank you for being here. This casserole! Is kind of like a deconstructed cordon bleu (do we capitalize this? hmm), super simple to throw together, and big on flavor. The big deal with regular chicken cordon bleu is that you roll chicken and ham and cheese together into this nice little packet, then bread and fry it. Time consuming + unhealthy SO we eliminated the assembly and the frying. There’s still a breadcrumb topping because I’m not an animal.
The skillet is layered super quickly, baked until bubbly, and served with rice and pasta and bread, all 3. Or salad depending on your mood.
You need! Chicken, any kind, boneless/skinless, cut into chunks. Chunks of ham too – I get thick-sliced sweet ham at the deli counter. Then it’s garlic, butter, flour, and mustard as the base for the sauce, milk and Worcestershire sauce, Swiss cheese, and breadcrumbs. Maybe some pepper, but the cheese and ham satisfy any need for salt here.
First, preheat a big skillet (I used my 12-inch cast iron skillet for this) to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil and preheat the oven to 375F. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken in one layer and sprinkle it with pepper.
Let the chicken brown for 2 minutes, then flip it and let it brown on the second side, then remove it to a plate. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point, just brown.
Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium and add the butter and garlic.
Stir the garlic into the butter for about a minute (don’t let it brown), then sprinkle the flour over the mixture.
Let THAT brown for another minute, then pour in the milk, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir the mixture to loosen any chicken bits from the bottom of the skillet and thicken the sauce – the milk will thicken when it mixes with the flour/butter.
Now here’s our shortcut. Instead of stirring cheese into the milk sauce like a mac and cheese, we just throw it in and then layer everything on top of it. Cheese slices!
More cheese! Breadcrumbs!
Bake for as long as it takes to brown and bubble 20-30 minutes, give or take. You can also make this way in advance and bake it for a little longer right when you’d like to eat it.
Ok, in hindsight I guess this is fine with just salad. And bread, right?
Get after it. There are no words.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 2 cups cubed ham (thick deli ham or similar, I like sweet ham for this)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 cups milk
- 6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese (8 deli slices
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat a large oven-proof skillet to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 375F.
When the skillet is hot, add the chicken in one layer (or do this in 2 batches if needed) with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
After 2-3 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for a few more minutes until brown. Remove the chicken to a plate (it won’t be cooked through at this point, just browned). Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium.
To the skillet with any chicken drippings, add the butter and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute until the butter melts, then sprinkle the flour over the butter.
Stir the flour into the butter and garlic to form a paste.
Let the flour mixture cook for one minute more, then slowly pour in the milk, stirring as you go to combine the milk with the flour mixture. Keep stirring until almost all of the lumps in the milk are gone.
Taste the milk sauce (it should thicken as it comes to a simmer), and add a few pinches of salt and pepper if you’d like. Stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat off the skillet.
To the bottom of the skillet with the milk sauce, place 4 slices of Swiss cheese in an even layer.
Top the first layer of the cheese with all of the chicken and all of the ham, then top with the remaining 4 slices of cheese. Sprinkle the panko bread crumbs over the entire skillet.
Bake the Cordon Bleu for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the panko is browned. You can broil the dish for 30 seconds or so if needed to brown the top without overcooking the chicken.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with salad or anything else you’d like. Enjoy!
A 10-12 inch skillet is ideal for this recipe. If you don’t have one, you can make the layers of this dish on the stovetop, then transfer everything to a baking dish and add the cheese slices. Top with the panko and bake!
Amounts in this recipe are adjustable – add more of any of the flavor components you like the best!