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Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken cordon bleu is a well known Classical French main dish, recently popularised in America too, prepared using boneless breast of chicken that is beaten flat and subsequently rolled around pork and some soft cheese such as mozzarella or Swiss cheese and finally baked or even fried. ‘Cordon bleu’ is French for Blue ribbon and the dish was named so ambiguously.

Ingredients and Preparation

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts – halved, slices of Swiss cheese and ham slices are the major ingredients apart from pepper or paprika, bread crumbs, cooking spray.

Pounded chicken breasts are sprinkled well with salt and pepper. A slice of cheese and ham is placed atop each beaten chicken breast, which is then rolled and secured with a toothpick. These are then coated with bread crumbs before baking in greased oven-proof dish till the pink colour of chicken turns white or till done. Additional cheese may be placed on top and baked once more till cheese melts. Some pepper or paprika may be sprinkled on top.

Nutritive Value

For 1 piece equivalent to 1 serving-

• Total calories provided is 360 and that from fat is 135.

• A total of 15 g fat of which saturated fat is 6 g. Cholesterol is 80 mg.

• Sodium is 950 mg.

• Total carbohydrate is 27 g of which sugars makeup 3g and dietary fibre 1g.

• Protein content is 29 g.

• The estimated percentage of calories from fats is 37.6 %, from carbohydrates is 30.1 % and from protein is 32.3 %.

• The dish is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, copper, B-vitamins.

Nutritional Improvements

1. For those persons who wish to avoid using cheese, as they may have elevated cholesterol or maybe who may be obese and have diabetes, cheese may be replaced with chickpea hummus that is high in protein, fibre and has a smooth texture. It provides a good source of vitamins and minerals and some roasted pumpkin seeds can add some crunch and supply B-vitamins, Vitamin E and folates as well as minerals like manganese that has powerful functions in disease prevention.

2. In place of ham, some lightly steamed lettuce or cabbage leaves would add the much needed fibre to the dish and lower the fat and cholesterol content as well as provide Vitamin A, C, K and minerals like iron.

3. Plenty of scallions, garlic and some green chillies with crumbled cottage cheese can also make for a nutritious protein rich filling in place of cheese and ham.

4. An easy chicken cordon bleu recipe made of Mushroom and corn tossed lightly in garlic infused olive oil with some fresh parsley and pepper that can be used as a tasty and healthy stuffing to the beaten chicken breasts. Mushrooms are a good source of B-vitamins that play vital roles in energy release reactions and maintain proper nervous system functions and perhaps the only good vegetarian source of Vitamin D. Also mushrooms contain selenium that has anti-oxidant activity in association with glutathione apart from copper and potassium. Mushrooms contain beta-glucans that have immune boosting power and contribute to resistance from infections and allergies. This cordon bleu would be hearty and satiating making it a good meal for the overweight too as mushroom is a low-calorie density ingredient.

5. A unique combination maybe marinated egg plant rounds (slices) with a topping of tomato, onion, silken tofu strips that can be placed within the chicken breasts and baked for a novel version of the chicken cordon bleu. Egg plant is low in calories, high in fibre and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron. It also provides B- vitamins, Vitamins A, C, E and K and also has considerable amounts of folate (that supports red blood cell formation) and choline (for liver protection, from fat accumulation, as a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine).