I have lived in the south for over 10 years now, and until recently had managed to not learn one of the key elements of any southern kitchen.
Let's just get this out there: I'm not a fan of most fried foods. Unless it is at the pub or just utterly amazing...I'm probably not going to get too excited about it.
But I found this recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Tenders, and I just HAD to try them. So...a bottle of oil did I buy.
As with most Rachael Ray recipes I did adapt a few things. I will note them as we go.
Chicken (Tenders) Cordon Bleu
12 chicken tenders
1/4 pound deli-sliced Swiss cheese, cut into 1/4 inch strips (I used plain old Trader Joe's Swiss cheese!)
1/4 pound deli-sliced French-style ham, cut into 1/2 inch strips (ok. I don't know what French ham is, so I bought Trader Joe's rosemary edged ham and it was GOOD.
1 1/2 cups flour (I used about 3/4 a cup)
2 large eggs (used 1)
2 cups breadcrumbs (used 1)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a handful, finely chopped (skipped this ingredient)
1 rounded teaspoon, a generous palmful, poultry seasoning (I substituted Mrs Dash because I don't have poultry seasoning)
oil for frying
Dijon mustard, Dijonaise or honey mustard for drizzling/dipping
Using a small, sharp knife, cut each chicken tender lengthwise but not all the way through. Working with 4 at a time, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Season with with salt and pepper and arrange slices of ham and cheese on top or each. Fold in half, to cover the ham and cheese, and gently press the edges down. Season the outside of the stuffed tenders with salt and pepper
Set up 3 dishes: one with the flour, one with the eggs beaten with a little water and the last with the breadcrumbs, parsley and poultry seasoning. Coat stuffed tenders in flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
Heat a couple of inches of frying oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, small bubbles will rapidly surround the handle of a wooden spoon when submerged. Fry chicken tenders in batches for 7-8 minutes, until deeply golden and cooked through. Place finished tenders on cooling rack to keep coating crisp while you finish cooking the rest.
Serve 3 tenders per person drizzled with Dijon or Dijonaise or honey mustard and a green salad dressed with vinaigrette alongside.
My rating, along with Anthony's, was that they were quite good. However, I prefer my food less fried, so I will probably experiment with a healthier way to make these. Plus, I prefer my food to have a bit more of a "zing" and flavor, so I will probably experiment with lemon juice, rosemary, and other spices and herbs to dress this recipe up a bit. Once I've experimented I'll let you know what my revisions are!
So basically, it's good "as-is" but I see the potential to be BETTER.