With the cooler weather fully in command I find my thoughts turn a lot to comfort foods, especially soups and casseroles. Not only are these recipes excellent comfort food, but they are also great dishes for using up leftovers and turning them into another fantastic dish. In this case I had some left over ham pieces and wanted a quick, but delicious, way to use them. I did some digging and found I also had some chicken breasts and cheese. This all lead me to making chicken cordon bleu casserole.
I love how quickly this dish works up, but how yummy it is. There’s a great contrast in flavors, and it can be served with rice, potatoes or pasta very easily. I like swiss cheese best, but if you have colby jack or even mozarella they’ll work fine too.
For this recipe we use Thick Gel in one of my favorite applications, that of building a roux base for a white sauce. I like Thick Gel in this method because it creates a beautiful cream sauce that doesn’t fracture or weep when it’s refrigerated and has a very smooth texture. I use a little bit of flour because I like the flavor of the butter and browned flour, but if you’re looking to stay completely gluten free Thick Gel can do all the work for you!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with Thick Gel
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 cup diced ham pieces
1-2 cups shredded cheese swiss, colby jack or mozzarella
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons Thick Gel (Or remove the flour and use 4 Tablespoons Thick Gel)
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon spicy mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
In a 9×9 inch dripper pan layer ham, chicken and cheese and set aside. ‘
In a medium sized heavy sauce pan melt the butter. Once the butter is completely melted add the flour and Thick Gel and stir well to combine. Let cook for 30 seconds then whisk in the milk. It won’t look thick enough, but it will thicken as the temperature increases. Cook for 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Add lemon juice, mustard and spices. Add extra milk if needed to maintain a pourable consistency.
Pour sauce over meat and cheese layer and top with panko crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted and the casserole is hot all the way through.
Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes and a vegetable side.