Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The eighth variation

I'm starting to get a bit of vege from the garden, which is pretty exciting for a newbie gardener. I've even been able to make a salad using only ingredients I've grown myself! The only downside is, with only 45 recipes to go, it's getting harder to find uncompleted Edmonds recipes in which to use my freshly-picked produce.

There were some courgettes and beans that needed using, (I'll be knee-deep in beans before long; I definitely planted too many) so I thought I might have them with a parsley sauce (p188) the last uncompleted version of the eight white sauce variations. These have been a bit of a trial to me as I've never been in the habit of using white sauces. I found a use for them all, however - and generally they're quite yummy (if properly seasoned).

Veges alone doesn't make a meal. I mentally revised the remaining recipes and decided to make chicken cordon bleu (p154) as well. This is a variation on the standard cordon bleu recipe, which sandwiches cheese and ham between pieces of beef schnitzel. This one is the same, but with chicken breast.

The recipe tells us to use single boneless chicken breasts, rolled thinly. Ok, fair enough, but a chicken breast is a whole lot fatter than a piece of schnitzel. I decided to slice it into two, then roll it out. This did not have a particularly tidy result, but I can't imagine I would have got the breast rolled thin enough if I'd left it whole. even sliced in two, it took a lot of rolling and pounding to get it passably thin.

This would have made a massive cordon bleu, so I cut each flattened piece of chicken in half. On two of my pieces I laid ham and cheese, then topped them with the remaining chicken. Though I'd tried to keep the shapes reasonably regular, they didn't match up too well - I wound up with two messy little packages that did not seal up on the edges properly. Oh well. On to the next step!

I coated the cordon bleus in seasoned flour, then dipped each one in beaten egg and rolled it in breadcrumbs. They held together better than I anticipated, but I still had to handle them carefully. Finally, I melted butter in a pan with oil, and put my cordon bleus in to fry for 5 minutes either side.

While my cordon bleus were cooking, I got the beans and courgettes cooking, and made the parsley sauce. It's a simple white sauce, with a bit of parsley added at the end. I stirred flour into melted butter, let that cook 'until frothy', then gradually added milk. I thought I was going to run out of milk before the sauce was ready, and watered down the last little bit. This was not a good idea - it made the sauce a bit runny.

I have to admit that I wasn't really concentrating on the parsley sauce, being distracted with the other elements of the meal. It showed in the final result - the parsley sauce was definitely a bit thin and lumpy, and I had it on the plate before I realised I'd forgotten the seasoning. Again. I sprinkled salt and pepper over the top instead.

The parsley sauce was pretty much as I expected: a thin (my fault), lumpy (my fault) and underseasoned (my fault again) white sauce with parsley through it. It could be a perfectly good sauce - I just didn't do a good job of it this time.

The chicken cordon bleu was good, though. It looks a bit overdone in the picture, but it tasted fine. You can't really go wrong with the formula meat+ham+cheese+breadcrumbs+fry in butter. It's a winning combination: not a healthy one, but definitely tasty!

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