Rotisserie chicken, prosciutto, and a blend of cheeses sandwiched between two crisply toasted slices of bread make this grilled cheese chicken cordon bleu less of a snack and more of a whole damn meal.
A traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu is a chicken breast pounded flat, lined with ham and cheese, rolled up into a roulade, and then battered or breaded and fried. It's not a lot of work, but it's enough work to make it far from a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
In fact, I'm not actually sure I've ever bothered making a traditional chicken cordon bleu because once I discovered this recipe for a grilled cheese version in an issue of Cooking Light I was like, "Why even bother with the real thing?"
No really. Why would I mess around with raw chicken, when I can just shred rotisserie chicken? Why would I bother with battering, breading, and deep frying when I can layer the same flavors and ingredients between two slices of bread?
We've updated and tweaked the recipe a bit over the years, adding havarti in addition to the gruyere, and replacing the sour cream and butter with mayo, which can more than handle pulling double-duty here. While the original recipe calls for multi-grain sandwich bread, we prefer using a hearty artisan sourdough bread which adds more flavor and makes bigger sandwiches.
Slathering the outside of the bread with mayo before it hits the pan ensures you get a crispy, brown, perfectly toasted exterior. The combination of nutty, assertive grated gruyere (a hard cheese) and the buttery sweetness of thinly sliced havarti (a soft cheese) brings that ooey-gooey-ness you expect from a grilled cheese.
It wouldn't be a cordon bleu without ham, and the prosciutto more than steps up to the plate here, while the mayo/mustard mixture and a sprinkle of fresh thyme truly tie it all together.
We love this grilled cheese chicken cordon bleu sandwich so much we even had the caterer at our wedding create a version of it to serve our guests, along with the Papermoon Cheesesteak. We also included a card with the recipe on it as a party favor for our guests because we knew some of them would fall in love with it just as much as we did. It's that good!
Practical cooking notes:
- Adjust as needed: Depending on how finely you grate the cheese and how big your bread is, you may find you need more cheese or less chicken, more mayo, etc.
- Grilled cheese assembly: The layering process is crucial to creating a structurally sound grilled cheese. Think of the cheese like the glue — you want it to go down before and after each layer of meat, so that everything between the two slices of bread sticks together. Leave room when you put the meat down so that theres space for the cheese to melt into all the crevices.
- Shopping for cheese: Hit up your grocery store's cheese counter (if it has one) and check the "Extras" bin for small pieces of gruyere or havarti so you don't buy more than you need. Alternately, check the deli counter — since you only need 3-4 slices of havarti, you can ask them to just slice what you need instead of requesting a quarter pound or buying the prepackaged stuff.
- Grating gruyere: Use a fine microplane or the big round holes on a box grater to shred the gruyere. It's a hard cheese which means it's less prone to melting — the finer you shred it, the more easily it will melt. The havarti is a soft, melty cheese so it can be layered into the grilled cheese in slices.
- The right bread: You can really use any kind of bread you want, just make sure if you go the "artisan" route, the bread doesn't have large air pockets and bubbles in it or the cheese will melt through and burn on the skillet. No one wants that!
- Use up your leftovers: You will definitely have some leftover prosciutto, leftover chicken, and thyme. We usually make this two nights in a row. If you don't want to eat grilled cheese twice in one week, use the prosciutto in this mahi-mahi saltimbocca or as the topping on a pizza. Oh, and save the chicken carcass and thyme in your freezer to make stock, or put them to work in this excellent chicken and dumplings soup.
other recipes you might like
- arugula and prosciutto pizza
- papermoon cheesesteak sandwiches
- just really good turkey burgers
- simple curry chicken
grilled cheese chicken cordon bleu
- 4 slices sourdough bread (or other large sandwich bread slices)
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 4 slices havarti cheese
- 2 oz gruyere cheese (½ cup)
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken (1 cup, shredded)
- 2 tablespoon mayonnaise (or greek yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
- mayonnaise (or butter, for toasting the bread)
- Mix 2 tablespoon mayo and 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard together in a small bowl.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over low-medium heat. Spread a small amount of plain mayo on one side of a slice of bread and place it mayo side down in the skillet.
- Spread a quarter of the mayo/mustard mixture on the surface of the bread. Top it with shredded gruyere, then half the shredded chicken and the fresh thyme. Follow the chicken with a slice of havarti torn into pieces, then the prosciutto. Finally, sprinkle a little more of the grated gruyere and half a slice of havarti torn into pieces.Work quickly, making sure you’re creating even layers that go all the way to the edges of the bread while leaving room for the cheese to melt through all the crevices and hold the bread together.
- To close the sandwich, spread a quarter of the mayo/mustard mixture on a second slice of bread and place it face down on top of the assembled sandwich in the pan, and then spread a dollop of plain mayo on the top surface of the bread, all the way to the edges.
- Use a spatula to press down on top of the sandwich as the cheese melts. Lift the bottom of the sandwich up periodically just enough to check that it’s browning, not burning, and adjust the heat if necessary.
- When the cheese has melted and the bottom piece of bread is toasty and golden brown, use a spatula to flip the sandwich over and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted enough to hold the sandwich together.
- Repeat to make the second sandwich. Enjoy!
- Grating gruyere: Use a fine microplane or the big round holes on a box grater to shred the gruyere. It’s a hard cheese which means it’s less prone to melting — the finer you shred it, the quicker and more easily it will melt. The havarti is a soft, melty cheese so it can be layered into the grilled cheese in slices.
- The right bread: You can really use any kind of bread you want, just make sure if you go the “artisan” route, the bread doesn’t have large air pockets and bubbles in it or the cheese will melt through and burn on the skillet. No one wants that!