Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chicken Cordon Lou

After being on hiatus for nearly a year, Rescue Me finally had its 5th season premiere last week. This is clearly one of television's rawest and gutsiest programs and I love the fact that the writers have thrown political correctness out the window. Drama and dark humor pair well in this series about post-911 firemen and the host of ghosts and dysfunctions that affect them. Aside from Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary,) my favorite character is Lieutenant (Lou) Kenny Shea (John Scurti.) The crass and witty banter between Tommy and Lou is delightfully quick and oozes sarcasm and the aforementioned political incorrectness. Funny. Stuff. I've actually spent the past week renting and rewatching the first four seasons, and that is why this particular blog post came to be.

Lou is known around the firehouse for his cooking skills and this recipe for Chicken Cordon Lou is how I would imagine him to whip up this dish for Tommy, Franco, Mikey and Sean. While the method is a far cry from the traditional chicken cordon blue technique, the result was a very tasty dish with all the basic ingredients plus a few more. Tossed together and thrown in a casserole dish, this makes for a relatively quick and easy weekday dinner.

Chicken Cordon Lou.... (Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" cubes
1/2 pound ham, chopped into bite size pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup fat free half and half
2 ounces reduced fat swiss cheese, shredded
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1-2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
handful of chopped parsley
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Season chicken breast cubes with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon oil in skillet and brown/cook chicken cubes, approximately 5 minutes. Add in ham pieces and lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat other tablespoon oil and butter in skillet. Add onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute until onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle veggies with flour and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes so flour loses raw taste. Stir in broth and bouillon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add half and half and cheeses. Stir until smooth. Add in thyme and parsley. Combine sauce with chicken, ham and rice. Pour into greased casserole dish. Combine panko with melted butter and spread evenly over casserole. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.


Anonymous said...

This one is a keeper; my family loved it. I did make one substitution though and used a delicate egg noodle instead of rice. Thanks for yet another good recipe.

Kelley said...

I'm a fellow Buckeye female who is also a "Rescue Me" fan. As a matter of fact, I have the John Scurti Fan page at Facebook. Please feel free to visit and post other Lou-related recipes.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Welcome to my blog Kelley and thanks for commenting!

Hubby and I are both so bummed that Rescue Me is finished, aren't you?

Kelley said...

Yes, I'm bummed that "Rescue Me" is over. One thing is certain,I will never look at Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix the same way again.