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Cordon Bleu

boneless skinless chicken breasts
175g cheddar cheese, cut into 8 chunks
4 slices good-quality thick cut ham
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g plain flour
3 free – range eggs, lightly beaten
150g Blue Dragon panko breadcrumbs
150g butter
300g French beans, trimmed
25g flaked almonds

1. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally nearly all the way through, then open each one out into a heart shape. 

2. Lay a large sheet of cling film onto a work surface, place butterflied chicken breast on top, then cover with a second sheet of cling film. Gently flatten the chicken breast with a rolling pin to a thickness of 1cm. Discard the cling film.

3. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken breasts. 

4. Place 2 pieces of cheddar cheese onto one side of each flattened chicken breast. Fold over one slice of ham and place it on top of the cheese. Fold the other half of the chicken over the filling and press down lightly. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken breasts. 

5. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and season with salt and ground pepper. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a separate plate. 

6. Dredge each filled chicken breast first in the flour, then dip it in the beaten egg, then roll it in the breadcrumbs to cover. 

7. Heat 125g of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts and fry for 4-5 minutes on one side, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Turn the chicken breasts over and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, basting the chicken with the butter in the pan at intervals. Try to keep the heat low enough to avoid burning the breadcrumbs or butter, but high enough to cook the chicken completely. 

8. When the chicken breasts are cooked through, the coating is golden – brown and the cheese filling has melted, remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set aside on a warm plate. 

9. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the beans and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. 

10. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining butter, then fry the flaked almonds for a few seconds until toasted. Return the beans to the pan, mix well, then season. 

11. Serve the chicken cordon bleu with sauteed potatoes, tender stem broccoli and blue cheese sauce.

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