Unlike some other entrees, delicious chicken cordon bleu is a relatively newer recipe.
The term “Cordon Bleu” translated from French to English as “blue ribbon”, yes, like Pabst Blue Ribbon. According to Larousse Gastronomique cordon bleu "was originally a wide blue ribbon worn by members of the highest order of knighthood, L'Ordre des chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, instituted by Henri III of France in 1578. By extension, the term has since been applied to food prepared to a very high standard and by outstanding cooks. The analogy no doubt arose from the similarity between the sash worn by the knights and the ribbons (generally blue) of a cook's apron."
The general recipe of this dish as a schnitzel (a thin slice of meat fried in fat) filled with cheese was in Brig, Switzerland and first mentioned in a cookbook in 1949. The earliest reference to the actual term "chicken cordon bleu" was in The New York Times in 1967, while the sister version of a “veal cordon bleu” can be found as early as 1955.
According to Wikipedia, there is a story told about the actual origin of the recipe, a large group of people had a reservation at a Restaurant in Brig, Switzerland. By coincidence a second, similar sized group showed up at the restaurant claiming to have made a reservation too. As this happened in the early 19th century the cook was not able to find an adequate amount of meat for both groups in such short time. She had then the brilliant idea to take the available meat, cut it into schnitzels, slicing these into a butterfly shape and filling them with ham and cheese before breading and frying, so that the amount of meat she had available was enough for both groups. The owner of the restaurant was so happy about the idea that he offered her 'the cordon bleu' (the blue ribbon) a French metaphor for an excellent cook. The modest lady answered that she does not need a blue ribbon, but that 'cordon bleu' would be a nice name for her creation.
While it is a nice story, as the Italian say, 'se non e vero, e ben trovato' (even if it is not true, it is well conceived).
While we may never know the exact origin of the now famous chicken cordon bleu, we can describe ours as “Chicken breasts smothered in a creamy white wine sauce with ham, Swiss cheese, and a bread crumb topping” and there is no denying that is a delicious entrée!
You may not think of a chicken cordon bleu as the highest standard of a dinner option, we think this entrée is comforting and great for the entire family! You can purchase our Chicken cordon bleu on our website here. We recommend our broccoli with almond topping with this entree, but any of our veggie sides will go well with it.