First, it forced me to do everything by hand. At home I'll throw the ingredients in the bread mixer, mix it up and bake it in the DO. Not so at the cook off. I had to knead and knead and knead and knead. Let me tell you, it is no picnic trying to beat egg whites to stiff peaks with a wire whisk.
Second, it made me realize how NOT organized I am when I cook. Even though I had planned out how I was going to do everything and had all my kitchen tools ready, it wasn't enough. I really need to work on being more efficient and organized. I just didn't use my time as efficiently as I should have.
Overall, it was a good experience for me. I found where both my strengths and weakness are. I also loved that making everything from scratch, using no electricity, outdoors is a real challenge. I'm certainly not one to back down just because something is hard--I think this blog testifies to that! : ) I have new found respect for both my pioneer ancestors, who crossed the plains with the Mormon wagon companies, and for the amazing cooks that turnout such beautiful foods at the cook offs around the country!
So you are probably wondering how I did! With only two people cooking, I won the main dish category with today's recipe and the vegetable category with the vegetable tian. I got a tripod and a cast iron cornbread skillet. At least I didn't come home empty handed!
Chicken Cordon Bleu with Smokey Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
10" dutch oven
4 medium boneless,skinless chicken breasts
4 slices black forest ham
4 slices pepper jack cheese (or jalapeno jack cheese for the very brave)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
fresh ground black pepper
raspberry chipotle sauce (recipe below)
On a cutting board, butterfly each breast and lay out flat, skin side down. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each breast and close the breast around the filling. Season both sides of the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
Heat the oil in a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals. Carefully add the chicken to the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then turn and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 155°. Serve with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Serves 4.
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce:
1 18 oz. jar raspberry preserves
1 Tbs. Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce, seeded, de-ribbed and finely minced
2 Tbs. cider or white vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Taste test for proper ratio of sweetness/tartness/heat. Add more vinegar, cayenne or minced chipotle pepper if desired. Remember, this sauce is supposed to knock you socks off. Otherwise its just raspberry jam!
The Finished Product
This is a terrible pic! I wish they looked as good as they tasted!
These were so good! I don't know if I'll eat regular cordon bleu again. Okay, I probably will, but I'll wish it had this sauce! The raspberry sauce was FABULOUS! It was tangy and smokey and just amazing. I really loved the kick that the pepper jack cheese gave it. The ones I made at home last week looked better, but there was no pressure to get them done and I could take a little more time. Cordon bleu really isn't hard to make and I do it fairly often, but most people are to intimidated to try making it at home, but you really should try this! Grade A.