If you are looking for a family-friendly dish that can also be transformed to an elegant dinner party, this gluten-free chicken cordon bleu is the one. If your children don’t like the idea of mustard, leave the Dijon cream sauce off and you have something which can make everyone happy. If your kids don’t like the ham or cheese, you can simply cut some of the chicken breast into strips, bread them, and either bake or fry in a pan. Hey, it’s better than making a whole new meal!
Now, if you are like my family, we eat gluten-free and dairy-free. Since chicken cordon bleu is normally made with cheese, I had to do some adjusting, but not much. Check my notes and tips on how to transform this dish so that it does not contain dairy or even casein, the protein found in cheeses like goat and sheep’s milk.
This recipe is from my cookbook The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love. For more information about what I do and how to buy the book, visit amythefamilychef.com. Enjoy the recipe!
Gluten-Free Chicken Cordon Bleu with Dijon Cream Sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon each potato starch and white rice flour or 2 tablespoons of any gluten-free flour blend without a gum
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk or milk substitute, plain and unsweetened
3/4-1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, like Schar
4 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets (about 1/2 of a double breast or about 8 ounces each)
4-8 thin slices black forest ham or smoked turkey
4-8 thin slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese (omit for dairy-free or replace with about 4 tablespoons of a dairy-free cheese like shredded sheep’s milk parmesan or a casein-free mozzarella-style shred)
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (dried or fresh)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a shallow bowl, mix the starch, rice flour, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, add the eggs and milk or milk substitute and beat. In a third bowl, add the breadcrumbs.
- You need 4 pieces of chicken which are flat and can be rolled. Lay the chicken between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap or in a plastic freezer bag. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. You can also ask your butcher to flatten the chicken or cut the breast into thin cutlets.
- Lay 1 slice of cheese on each breast, followed by 1-2 slices of ham, and 1 more of cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on all sides to help seal the roll. Use more or less ham and cheese depending upon the thickness of the ham and cheese. For dairy-free, first lay down the ham and then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese substitute on top. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll. Use 2-3 toothpicks to hold in place.
- Dust the rolled chicken with the flour mixture and then dip in the egg mixture. Lift the chicken out of the egg mixture and let any excess drip off. Place in the bread crumb mixture. Gently roll around to coat with the crumbs. Carefully transfer the chicken pieces to the pan seam-side down.
- Drizzle all rolled chicken breasts with olive oil and bake for 35-40 minutes until browned and cooked through. Test with an instant read thermometer to ensure center has reached at least 160F. While the chicken is cooking, make the Dijon cream sauce (see below).
- Let rest 10-15 minutes. Remove toothpicks and slice (see photo). Place on a pretty platter. Top with Dijon cream sauce and garnish with parsley.
Family Chef Tip: You never know what your kids will and won’t eat. Try serving this with steamed broccoli or string beans, or roasted asparagus. My 8-year-old daughter recently discovered she loves asparagus. I’m still working on my son!
Dijon Cream Sauce
1 cup milk or milk substitute, plain and unsweetened
Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water
1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground pepper
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1-2 teaspoons Dijon or grainy mustard
1 whole bay leaf (for flavor)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or butter substitute (for texture)
- Heat milk to a simmer, with the bay leaf if using, in a small to medium sized pot, making sure milk is not boiling.
- Meanwhile, make the slurry by mixing the water with starch in a small bowl. Mix until smooth and the slurry looks like whole milk.
- Add slurry to heated milk and stir. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk mustard into the sauce as it thickens.Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Simmer 4-6 minutes or until thickened. If the sauce is not thick enough, make and add more slurry. Add butter or butter substitute at the end to make the sauce more creamy and similar to a roux-thickened sauce.
- Taste the sauce to make sure the starch is cooked. If there is a gritty texture, the sauce needs to cook 2-4 minutes longer.