Matt and I have recently fallen in love with going to the cooking demos at The Galley in Chico. We love seeing cooking demos by local Chico chefs and sampling their food. Best yet, it’s free!
This week, Kevin Garibaldi from Garibaldi’s Catering did a demo on cooking with chicken. He’s a lot of fun and very entertaining. I loved the way he cooked- no measuring, just a bit of this and that. It’s the way I cook these days and that’s why if I make a recipe, I won’t tell you how much seasonings I use. It’s all to your taste. What caught our eye was he showed us how to make a real chicken cordon bleu. We were intrigued and planned on making it at home. And by some magical happenstance, the ham, swiss, and mushroom was replaced by chorizo, bell peppers, and mozzarella.
Usually I don’t take photos at night. Why is that? Well A) I spent all the time cooking dinner, I don’t want to let it get cold by the time I’m done taking photos. B) the lighting sucks, I don’t have great lighting set ups. But once I saw this little bundle of joy, I knew this was going to be one of those special dinners that I had to take a photo. I think next time I’ll make dinner in three’s- one for me, one for the boyfriend, and another for photos the next day and split it for lunch for the boy and I.
Okay, enough of blog stuff. The FOOD. Oh my gosh this was good. It’s one of those dinners that are better than what you could get at a restaurant. It’s so… different but so much fun! I’ve never had anything like it. The smoky spiciness of the chorizo with the melty cheese with sweet bell peppers and crispy coated chicken- to die for!
Now one of the concerns voiced by a woman at the cooking demo was that it would come undone. Well while at home I thought about it and decided to wrap my ball of chicken in cellophane. After letting it rest in the fridge, it will stay more together.
And sorry about how long the instructions are. That’s what happens when I write my own recipe, I try to add all the information that I think might be useful!
Chorizo & Pepper Stuffed Chicken aka Pollo Cordon Azul
Note: the amount of filling will be different depending on how large your chicken breasts are once pounded out. So you’ll kind of have to eye ball it.
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 pieces of deli ham (if needed)
1/4 cup chorizo, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp onions, diced
3 tbsp bell peppers (red and green), diced small
3 tbsp cheese (we only had mozzarella, but would be great with jack or pepper jack)
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk or water
Cooking oil (vegetable, canola, or peanut)
Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, coriander, oregano
1. If you have time (or are thawing), brine your chicken breasts. I do about 3 tablespoons of salt in water enough to cover the chicken. It’s not precise, just add salt to a container, add a small amount of hot water to dissolve the salt (rocking it back and forth also helps), then add cold water, your chicken breasts, and let it brine. I do this very often, sometimes only for an hour, sometimes eight. It keeps your chicken juicy and helps prevent drying out.
2. Saute the onions with olive oil until soft. Add the bell peppers and garlic, and saute until fragrant.
3. Place chicken breasts on plastic cutting board and butterfly them by cutting them in half (but not all the way) so you have something similar to a square. Layer a sheet of cellophane on top of the breasts. Take a wooden mallet and pound your chicken breasts until thin. Avoid making holes in the chicken, but it’s kind of inevitable (especially when cutting). If holes form, use the ham to cover the hole (leave the ham whole, when you stretch the chicken, you’ll be glad you did).
4. Salt and pepper the chicken. Spread the cooked chorizo in the middle, leaving about a centimeter gap from the end of the chicken. Create a little mountain of ingredients in the center to help with forming the ball shape. Add the bell pepper and onion mixture, followed by a layer of cheese and green onions. Don’t pile too much filling, you can’t fit a ton in these little packages.
5. Form a ball out of the chicken. It’s kind of intuitive and figure out what works for you. I folded the edges upwards, and tucked the ends into each other. Garibaldi said to fold it into the thin edge, but I folded it into the thick edge so I could pull it over without ripping a hole. Matt heard him say to fold it like a burrito and that worked well for Matt. If you have filling coming out, take out some. Either way, make sure it’s tight and give it a good squeeze.
6. Once your chicken resembles a ball, place the chicken with the opening up on a piece of cellophane. Take the corners up and twist, so you have a little bundle. Use the cellophane to help get the chicken in ball form. Twist it tight so it stays in the shape, but not too much or you’ll get a blow out. Let rest in the fridge, twist side down for at least 20 minutes.
7. Next you’ll want to bread your chicken using the flour, egg, then panko. I added seasonings in all stages because we couldn’t decide which stage would matter most. Just to your tastes. Remember to be very gentle with your chicken.
8. Fill a wok with cooking oil so it will reach about halfway on the chicken. Heat to medium and fry the chicken (first with the opening side down) until golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Not too dark, since it will bake in the oven.
9. In a oven preheated to 350F, bake for about 15 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before slicing through the middle.