The first cookbook I received when I was first married was the Lion House Cookbook, based on the delicious recipes served at the Lion House Pantry Restaurant located on historic Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Next to the restaurant is the Lion House, the home of Brigham Young, the fearless leader of the Mormon pioneer trek across the US plains starting in 1847, thus the name “Lion”. He was the central figure in the development and growth of the Salt Lake Valley and later became the 2nd president of the Mormon church, presiding from 1847 until his death in 1877. He also served as the first governor of the Utah territory.
The Lion House Pantry Restaurant is well known for it’s traditional american cuisine. The menu hasn’t changed much over it’s decades of business. One of their most famous menu offerings is the Chicken Cordon Bleu, a succulent chicken breast coated in butter and cornflake crumbs stuffed with ham and swiss cheese and smothered with a creamy lemon sauce. Thanks to my wedding gift cookbook, I learned how to make this dish much to the surprise of my new husband, and believe it or not, my effort jump-started my adventures in cooking. As a young bride I realized that I really enjoyed trying new things and what better recipes to try than from a well-established, tried-and-true restaurant like The Lion House. Now after 35 years I still enjoy baking this dish for him and the family. I’ve changed it over the years to reflect a few new cooking concepts like Panko crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese instead of cornflake crumbs and I make the lemon sauce with butter, reduced-fat cream cheese, a little white wine (optional) and lemon juice instead of condensed cream of chicken soup and sour cream. The white wine gives it so much amazing flavor; the alcohol content in the wine burns off as much as alcohol in flavor extracts do in baking, but I leave it as an optional ingredient for those who choose not to cook with wine, for whatever reason.
I place smoky thin-sliced ham rolled around a “finger” stick of Swiss cheese in the middle of the flattened chicken breast and roll it up, hiding the ham and cheese. Then the rolled breasts are coated in flour, an egg and then a combination of Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. The breasts are baked at 350 degrees F for about 45 to 50 minutes. When you cut into it, the cheese comes oozing out. Perfection! This is a wonderful dish to make for guests or a holiday meal like Easter or Christmas. They take a little extra time to make, but are so worth the effort.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu with Butter Lemon Sauce
- Cooking Spray
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 4-6 ounces each
- 8-12 slices paper thin-sliced ham (I use Hormel Naturals deli-style)
- 4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into fingers about 1 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inch thick
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Panko crumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp chicken base (I use Better Than Bouillon)
- 2 Tbsp white wine (optional-see note*)
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about the juice of one lemon)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place chicken breasts, one at a time, between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with meat mallet to about 1/4-inch thickness.
- On two to three pieces of ham, place a finger of Swiss cheese and roll jelly-roll style. Repeat for all the ham and cheese.
- Place a ham/cheese roll onto each flattened chicken breast and roll up, tucking in ends and seal well with toothpicks if needed.
- Combine flour with thyme, salt and pepper in a shallow dish, stirring to mix. Place beaten egg in a shallow dish. Combine Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest in a a shallow dish, stirring to mix.
- Roll each chicken breast in flour mixture, then egg and finally in Panko crumbs, turning to thoroughly coat each chicken breast.
- Place rolls in prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink.
- For the Butter Lemon Sauce: Melt butter in small saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken base and white wine, whisking to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add cream cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk to combine until smooth and creamy. Keep warm. Spoon over chicken when ready to serve.
*The majority of the alcohol content of the white wine burns off during sauce preparation. If you do not use it, add an additional 2 Tbsp water or chicken broth instead.
You might also enjoy: