Chicken Cordon Bleu happens to be one of my hubby’s most favorite dishes ever, so he was ecstatic to have this on his plate later that night. It’s not nearly as rich as you might think, with the sauce and cheese and all. It’s really filling though, and warm and gooey and just perfect for these very cool Fall nights. Pair it with a simple veggie and you’re well on your way to a perfect, easy meal.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
For the casserole:
- 1 whole cooked chicken, bones removed, meat diced or shredded (rotisserie chicken is excellent, 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
- salt, to taste
For the topping:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
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.
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. Do not brown! 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.
To make the topping: Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake casserole uncovered for 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.
Things you can do ahead:
1. Shred your chicken a day ahead if you want to.
2. Make the casserole up to the step where you pour on the sauce, cover and refrigerate till the next day. The next day take it out of the fridge for a little while to allow it to take some of the chill off, make up the breadcrumb topping and bake as instructed above.
3. Make the casserole completely the morning of the day you want to serve it. Let it cool completely, cover and refrigerate. That night, take it out of the fridge about an hour before baking to allow the chill to come off a little. Bake again, covered loosely with foil to prevent further browning, at 350 for about thirty minutes to reheat. (I only suggest this last idea because this is what I did the day we made this for the blog; it was a delish dinner for the hubby and I that night and it reheated great.)
The rotisserie chickens at my store tend to be on the smaller side, so I got two that day – they were on sale yaaaay. Good thing I did. One would not have been 5 cups of chicken.