Cordon bleu (dish)

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Cordon bleu
A schnitzel cordon bleu, as served in Switzerland
Place of originSwitzerland
Main ingredientsVeal or chicken breast, cheese, ham, bread crumbs

A cordon bleu or schnitzel cordon bleu is a dish of meat wrapped around cheese (or with cheese filling), then breaded and pan-fried or deep-fried. Veal or pork cordon bleu is made of veal or pork pounded thin and wrapped around a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, breaded, and then pan fried or baked.[1] For chicken cordon bleu chicken breast is used instead of veal.[2] Ham cordon bleu is ham stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.[3]


The French term cordon bleu is translated as "blue ribbon".[4] 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."[5][6]


The origins of cordon bleu as a schnitzel filled with cheese are in Brig, Switzerland, probably about the 1940s, first mentioned in a cookbook from 1949. The earliest reference to "chicken cordon bleu" in The New York Times is dated to 1967, while similar veal recipes are found from at least 1955.[6]

There is a nice story told about the actual origin of the recipe [7] 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. As the Italian say, 'se non e vero, e ben trovato' (even if it is not true, it is well conceived).


Chicken cordon bleu with Brussels sprouts

There are many variations of the recipe, all of which involve a cutlet, cheese, and meat. A popular way to prepare chicken cordon bleu is to butterfly cut a chicken breast, place a thin slice of ham inside, along with a thin slice of a soft, easily melted cheese such as Swiss. The chicken breast is then rolled into a roulade, coated in bread crumbs and then deep fried.[8] Other variations exist with the chicken baked[9] rather than fried.

Other common variations include omitting the bread crumbs,[10] wrapping the ham around the chicken, or using bacon in place of ham.[11]

A variant popular in the Asturias province of Spain is cachopo, a deep-fried cutlet of veal, beef or chicken wrapped around a filling of Serrano ham and cheese.[12] In Spain, the version made with chicken is often called san jacobo.

In largely Muslim-populated countries, the halal versions of chicken cordon bleu are also popular, such that the chicken is rolled around beef or mutton instead of pork product.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles Anderson, Derek Blakemore -Modern food service – Page 51 1991 Cordon Bleu – Sliced ham and gruyere cheese in an escalope of veal
  2. ^ FoodFest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook – Page 82 Yvan Lemoine – 2010 "The first account of Chicken Cordon Bleu appeared as part of an advertisement for United Airlines in the New York Times
  3. ^ The Everything Almost Homemade Cookbook Linda Larsen – 2009 – Serve with a green salad and bread sticks. Ham Cordon Bleu Instead of chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, ham is stuffed with mushrooms and cheese in this twist on the classic.
  4. ^ "The Phrase Finder"
  5. ^ Larousse Gastronomique, completely updated and revised. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001, p. 340.
  6. ^ a b Olver, Lynne. "Chicken Cordon Bleu". The Food Timeline.
  7. ^ OGS Seebach. Retrieved 30-June-2020.;
  8. ^ ""
  9. ^ "The Food Network"
  10. ^ ""
  11. ^ "
  12. ^ "Cachopo". Guia Repsol. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.