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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

If you love classic chicken cordon bleu, you will love this chicken cordon bleu casserole!  It’s made with shredded chicken, chopped ham and tender hash browns enveloped in a flavorful, rich, creamy sauce infused with Swiss Gruyere cheese and topped with buttery, crispy panko breadcrumbs.  It is decadently delicious and perhaps the most comforting casserole EVER!  This cheesy chicken cordon bleu casserole is quick and easy to prepare and make head friendly, just assemble then pop it in the oven to bake until warm and bubbly at dinner time OR freeze for later.  This recipe is a fabulous way to use up leftover ham (or you can use deli ham) and is extremely versatile, add in whatever you want! No matter how you serve it, everyone will be swooning over this lavish creamy, cheesy, comforting chicken and ham casserole!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 -12 servings

Ingredients

SAUCE

ADD-INS

  • 1 ¼ cups freshly shredded Gruyere Swiss cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 ¼ cups freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or cubed cooked chicken)
  • 16 oz frozen shredded hash browns, thawed, patted dry

PANKO TOPPING

Instructions

  • Panko: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until crumbs become golden brown. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
  • Casserole: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Sauce: Melt butter with olive oil in a very large skillet or Dutch over medium heat (something large enough to fit all ingredients once combined). Whisk in flour then cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Turn heat to low then gradually whisk in milk and 1 ½ cups chicken broth. Whisk cornstarch with remaining chicken broth and add to skillet followed by Dijon, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon and all spices/seasonings.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly then reduce heat to a simmer, whisking often until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup Monterrey Jack until melted followed by 1 cup Gruyere cheese until melted. Whisk in sour cream until blended.
  • Combine: Add the ham and chicken and stir to evenly coat. Taste and season with salt to taste (zero salt to 1/2 teaspoon). Stir in hash browns until evenly combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining ¼ cup Gruyere and ¼ cup Monterrey Jack, followed by panko.
  • Bake: Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted; serve hot. Season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Ham:  This works with leftover ham (any flavor) or deli ham.  I recommend black forest ham for its subtle, complex smoky flavor, but any cut of deli ham will work. Ask the deli counter to slice it into about ¼-inch thick slices then all you have to do is slice it the other direction to make ½-inch cubes before using.  
  • Chicken:  This recipe calls for 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken. Alternatively, you may substitute the shredded chicken with 1-pound uncooked chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until almost cooked through.
  • Swiss Gruyere cheese.  You can purchase a 6-8 oz. block with the specialty cheeses at your grocery store. You will likely have the option between regular Gruyere or smoked Gruyere cheese. I recommend regular for this recipe.
  • Sour Cream: Full fat sour cream melts easier than nonfat, but you can certainly use nonfat with this knowledge.  For full disclosure, I have not tried this recipe with Greek Yogurt.
  • Chicken bouillon: You can use chicken bouillon cubes, granulated bouillon powder or better than bouillon – all in equal amounts.  If you are using bouillon cubes, just mash them up a bit before you add them to the sauce – don’t dissolve in water first. 
  • Panko: Are a Japanese breadcrumb and can be found next to the traditional/Italian breadcrumbs at your grocery store.  Please do NOT substitute with traditional breadcrumbs and expect the same results – they are not nearly as crunchy!  My favorite panko is actually gluten free Aleia's Gluten Free Real Panko Original (even though I’m not gluten free) made primarily of brown rice.  It is the crunchies panko I’ve found!
  • Protein Substitutions:  You can swap the chicken and ham for any protein such as cooked ground sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, chorizo, crumbled bacon, etc.  You can also double the chicken and omit the ham or vice versa.
  • Veggie additions: You can swap the hash browns for about 4 cups cooked vegetables or swap the ham or chicken for two cups vegetables.  Veggie ideas include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, peas, corn, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, etc.

MAKE ahead

  • Assemble the ham casserole according to recipe instructions but don’t add the panko topping.  Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • Transfer panko topping to a separate sealable bag/airtight container and store on the counter otherwise it will soften in the fridge.
  • When ready to bake, sprinkle the casserole with the panko and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking. 
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. 

HOW to store and reheat  

  • Storage: Cover casserole with foil and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • To reheat: Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  You can also reheat individual servings of in the microwave with excellent results.

HOW TO FREEZE

This chicken cordon bleu casserole is super convenient to double when making so you can serve one for dinner now and have one for later. It is best frozen before it is baked.
  • Make and assemble ham casserole according to directions up to the point of baking. You can add the topping if you want the casserole 100% assembled OR for crispier topping, store it separately and add right before baking.
  • Let casserole cool completely (not from baking but from the warm sauce).
  • Wrap casserole securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to eat, thaw ham casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours until completely thawed.
  • Let casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, uncover, and bake an addition 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.