I never liked handling raw meat. I mean, I don’t really know anyone who looks forward to holding slimy, fleshy, wet raw meat, but I’m sure most chefs reach for it without really thinking twice. Dealing with meat in its raw form always makes me think about the animal it once was and I end up feeling a twinge of guilt. I say ‘twinge’ because my guilt is fleeting and as soon as I start smelling the raw meat cooking, I’m salivating and ready to eat.
I used to avoid having to cook with raw meat (then again, I used to live with my family, so I really didn’t have to cook anything…), but now I’ve been branching out and trying new dishes. While this doesn’t mean my aversion to raw meat has gone away, it does mean I’ve learned to work around it.
Behold, my lazy-tasty gluten free chicken cordon bleu!
Why is it lazy, you ask? Check out how it’s made: it’s not rolled! As a result, it’s not very pretty looking, but it sure is tasty. Not rolling it means I don’t really have to touch the chicken. I simply cut the raw chicken breasts in half (using a knife and fork, of course), layer a couple slices of Gruyere or Swiss cheese and smoked maple glazed ham, then close up the two chicken halves like a sandwich.
…like a very gross, raw, fleshy sandwich.
Instead of breadcrumbs, I use rice crumbs. PaneRiso Rice Bread Crumbs are moderately priced and work well with the recipes I’ve used them in. The bag seems to last a while too, but that could be because I don’t really ‘bread’ too many things.
This is where I can’t get around it; I have to handle the raw chicken to coat the pieces with the rice crumbs. I pour some rice crumbs into a bowl, coat both sides of each chicken, sprinkle with ground black pepper, and then cook them in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 35 – 40 minutes.
- You could brush the chicken with butter before applying the rice crumbs, as it allows them to stick better. I don’t because I find the chicken is coated enough to my liking.
- While I’ve tried this dish with a couple different sauces, I’ve had it ‘plain’ more often than not, as the cheese and smoked maple glazed ham give the meal a wonderful tasty combo I don’t want to mask.
Maybe one day I’ll handle raw meat like a fearless pro, but for now I’m fine with working around it with an abundance of utensils at my disposal.
Just call me ‘chicken.’
(Sorry, I couldn’t ignore the awful pun.)