Chicken Charred, Chard, and Bleu ‡

This recipe is not to be confused with Chicken Cordon Bleu (CCB), which literally means “Blue Ribbon Chicken”, but so named because it sounded somewhat like it. I had prepared CCB only the week before I devised this cognomen, and, while doing so, I started punning around, thinking of alternate preparations involving chicken, chard, and bleu cheese. Sad to say, it was invented on the evening of January 27, 2012, the date I learned of my brother Jim's passing, while I was also agonizing how to get to Missouri in time for his funeral services, which, as it turned out, I could not. There were many individual lame excuses why, but impacting in concert, they ruled against the trip.

Cooking, for me, is a mechanism for release; one that allows the mind to focus on creation, diversion, and contentment: a means of setting aside the cares of the day. In fulfilling that goal, the result turned out to be an outstanding example of synergistic ingredients in proper combination. The bleu cheese sauce I thought so exceptional that it rated its own, separate treatment. A Mornay sauce is also OK here, but Bleu is sensational.

  • 2 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
  • 2 slices turkey ham, 1/8” thick
  • ¼ cup onion, diced finely
  • 3 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch (6 to 7 large leaves) Red Swiss chard, chiffonade
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup bleu cheese sauce
  • <salt> and pepper, to taste

Remove the stalks and main vein of the chard, roll into a bundle, and slice very thin alá chiffonade. Sauté the chard with the onions, mushrooms, jalapeño in the oil until just beginning to caramelize. Add ¼ cup of water, cover, and let steam until the chard is tender.

Grill the chicken until brown on both sides, and the ham also, although it will not take as long.

Place foundations of chard on each plate, cover with ham, and top with chicken. Pour the bleu cheese sauce over the top and serve immediately.

Serves 2.