I love bread, and I love bowls, but put the two together and I am usually disappointed. I feel like I eat my soup and then just have a big soggy disgusting waste of a mess at the end . And I don't know why this trick never occurred to me before (because I use the trick with other things), but toasting the suckers turned them from a disgusting mess to a toasty delicious, amaaaaazing thing. So the next time you are making bread bowls for soup, or for anything, might I suggest toasting them for 5 minutes in a 400 dg oven, you'll be so happy.
And you will also be happy if you do something similar to your taco shells. Blaine taught me that a long time ago, an untoasted taco shell is like eating a flat corn flavored rock, but a toasted crispy taco shell...nothing better! Just don't let them burn....like we often do. They reek to high heaven if they burn. Just sit there and watch them toast in the oven for like 45 seconds.
Moving on....these were divine! I loved them! Not much more to say than that!
Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls
*Note: if you don’t have apple juice on hand, you can omit the apple juice and increase the chicken broth to 1 3/4 cups.
For the Chicken and Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed (about 2-3 chicken breasts)
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I got a garlic press for Christmas!!! !!!!!)
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup apple juice(we only had cider...but pretty much the same thing, right?)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 cups broccoli florets
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste (I used chili powder)
4-6 medium round regular or sourdough bread bowls
8-10 thin slices smoked ham
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I didn't have that much, but oh how I wish I did!)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.
Place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight fitting microwave-safe lid. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until tender but still bright green. Remove the plastic wrap and set aside.
In a 10- or 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until the chicken begins to brown but isn’t cooked all the way through, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened (when chicken is still slightly pink), about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken/onion mixture and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring, constantly for one minute.
Gradually add the chicken broth and apple juice, stirring constantly to avoid any clumps from forming. Stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, mustard and thyme. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in the broccoli; season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Hollow out the inside of the bread bowls by cutting off the tops and tearing out the insides. I like to leave about a 1/4-inch edge along all sides of the bread bowl. Compress the remaining bread together to firm up the sides and make room for the filling. Place the bread bowls on the prepared baking sheet and toast them for about 5 minutes in the preheated oven.
Remove the toasted loaves from the oven and arrange the ham slices in the bottom of each loaf. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken mixture evenly between loaves, reserving about 1-2 cups sauce in the pan for serving. Top the chicken mixture in each loaf with shredded Swiss and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.Bake the bread bowls until the cheese melts, about 10-15 minutes. Serve each bread bowl with reserved cream sauce.