Chicken cordon blue is like a piece of candy with a surprise center. It looks just like a regular piece of fried chicken. But slice it open, and you get ribbons of ham and gooey cheese. The Swiss dish (yup, it’s not French) has become a staple at wedding buffets, and Filipino families often prepare it for special occasions. You’d think it odd that it’s not more of a weekly thing, seeing how it’s so simple. But despite the accessibility of chicken cordon bleu, people shy away from making it on the regular because preparing it is so tedious. You have to pound chicken into schnitzels, then roll each piece with the ham and cheese inside—which you have to do properly or else it’s going to burst while cooking. So to make it easier, we developed this recipe for chicken cordon bleu meatballs.
How to Make Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs
It’s got everything you’d get in a regular chicken cordon bleu: crunchy chicken, ham, and cheese, even the béchamel sauce. But it gives you the experience minus the fuss of having to meticulously form the pieces. In this recipe, you simply throw ingredients together, then mash it into a ball. A three-step dredge follows, then a quick fry to get the meatballs golden. That, plus making a simple cheesy béchamel sauce on the side, and you’re done!
To start, prepare panada, a paste-like binder made by soaking breadcrumbs in milk. This technique is often used in Italian meatballs (we also use it in our best burger steak recipe) to keep them from drying out while cooking. Pour milk over breadcrumbs in a bowl and leave to soak for about 10 minutes.
Then, in a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, ham, Parmesan, soaked breadcrumbs, egg, thyme, and salt. Using your hands, mix everything thoroughly until well-combined.
Scoop the mixture and form them into balls (about 2 tbsp each).
Line the meatballs up on a tray, and set these aside in the freezer (or just the fridge if you don’t have space) until ready to fry.
While the meatballs are setting up, prepare our basic béchamel recipe. In a pan over medium heat, add 1/2 cup of butter and heat it until melted.
Add 1/2 cup flour and whisk continuously to avoid lumps, cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly the mixture is slightly golden.
Add in 3 cups of milk, whisking until simmering and thickened, about 5 more minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, then add the cheddar cheese. Whisk the sauce until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated.
Season the béchamel with salt and pepper, then keep warm.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs
To cook the meatballs, prepare three dredging stations. In one bowl, add flour. In another bowl, add beaten eggs. Then in a third bowl, add Panko breadcrumbs.
Take the meatballs, which should be able to better retain their shape now, and cover them in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs.
Set the breaded meatballs on a tray and repeat dredging with the rest of the balls.
Heat frying oil to 350F, then fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown and fully cooked through. It should take about eight minutes. Make sure to turn the balls once in a while to make sure it cooks evenly!
Remove the fried meatballs from the oil, and place them on a plate or tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
Serve the chicken cordon bleu meatballs with the cheesy béchamel sauce ladled on top or on the side.
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