Photo: Erik Trinidad
So everyone's up in arms about KFC's Double Down, the sandwich sensation "so meaty, there's no room for the bun!" Fast foodies praise its inventiveness, while nutrition and health advocates condemn its use of fatty fried chicken in lieu of bread -- but is it really that bad or even that ingenious? Think about it; take away KFC's gimmicky breadless marketing campaign and the Double Down is not that different from Chicken Cordon Bleu, an established and well-respected recipe from the gourmet chefs of the famous eponymous French culinary institution. And of course, everyone knows everything in France is fancy, especially when it's spelled and pronounced "bleu" instead of "blue."
When you break it down, the Double Down and Chicken Cordon Bleu are both dishes with melted cheese and pig meat surrounded by chicken that is breaded before frying or baking. Rather than transform a fast food dish into something completely different this time, let's prove this point:
Read on for the "recipe" for Chicken Cordon Deux after the jump...
Ingredients (from KFC)
- 1 KFC Double Down sandwich (crispy)
- 1 drink of your preference
- organic French tarragon (for that extra touch of irony)
As simple as this recipe may sound, a lot of thought went into the creation of it; we here at the Fancy Fast Food kitchen experimented with eight Double Downs before we got it right. (That's sixteen downs!) We first approached it in the traditional way, rolling fillets of chicken around the bacon and cheese like a roulade, but with the chicken fillets already cooked, it didn't stick too well together with the available ingredients -- even when rolling it in plastic wrap. We tried grinding the chicken down, thinking it would stick together better in the roll, but it would always fall apart. We tried it with aluminum foil, and by molding the roll manually with the filling inside, but nothing would stick. Finally we decided that if we couldn't physically wrap chicken around the bacon and cheese, we'd approach it the opposite way and stuff the filling into the chicken.
To start, let the sandwich cool down so that the insides aren't melted and sticky, then remove the cheese and bacon from the "buns" of fried chicken. (Traditionally, Chicken Cordon Bleu has ham and swiss cheese, but we're going to improvise with the Colonel's recipe of bacon and Monterey Jack.) Take one of the two fried chicken breasts and slice the skin and breading off of one side (the long way) to expose a face of white meat chicken. Do the same to the other piece. Now when they are stacked with the white meat faces touching each other, it forms one thick piece of breaded chicken. So meaty!
To "fill" the chicken, carve a groove into the center of each chicken breast -- being careful not to cut all the way through to the breaded side -- so that there's a channel with enough room for the cheese and bacon. Make sure the two grooves match up in the middle when the chicken is restacked, so you have a "hole."
Stack the chicken breasts with the filling inside and then nuke it for about twenty seconds -- long enough for the cheese to melt. Then slice your Chicken Cordon Deux into bite-sized amuse-bouche (that sounds fancy) and garnish with an ironic French tarragon leaf each. Serve with your beverage in fancy wine glassses and voila! Chicken Cordon Deux! It may be more or less the same thing, but doesn't the word "deux" just make it sound fancier than "double down?"
Erik R. Trinidad -- who is not a trained chef but enjoys recreational cooking -- is the creator of Fancy Fast Food, where fast food goes through an extreme makeover without the use of any additional ingredients (other than an occasional garnish). This is his eighth post for Slashfood. Check out his travel blog at TheGlobalTrip.com, plus more mock recipes and videos at FancyFastFood.com.