Tag Archives: ham

Finca Helechal Ibérico Sampler: Review

Expensive but Delicious

I wouldn’t have paid $20 for 4 oz of Ibérico cold cuts if it wasn’t my birthday. But it was, so when I saw this tapas sampler at Cost Plus I threw caution to the wind and put it in my cart. I’m glad I did. While ridiculously expensive (but, Ibérico ham is ridiculously expensive in Spain too – though a sampler like this would cost about half to a third as much), it was absolutely delicious. As good as any pork product I’ve had in Spain, at stores or restaurants. Even as good as the Ibérico ham my friend’s mother – a butcher – would send from Extremadura to her house in Madrid.

The sampler comes with one ounce (28g) each of jamón ibérico, ibérico pork loin, ibérico salchichón and ibérico chorizo. I had meant to eat these with bread or crackers, but I ended up eating them all on their own. The paper thin slices of each were so good that I couldn’t bear to add other flavors to it. I really can’t say which was my favorite,

“Finca Helechal” is a brand of Ibérico pork products producer “Embutidos Fermín“, a small family company based on La Alberca, Salamanca. They have different levels of products, the top ones made from pigs fed acorns. These ones are made from grain-fed free range pigs that are only 50% Iberian. Unless you are tasting the two products side by side, I don’t think you’ll notice.

I’ll definitely buy this again. And maybe next time, I’ll share it.

Chicken Cordon Blue

Oftentimes when I ask Mike what he wants for dinner, he tells me “chicken cordon blue”. He had no idea what chicken cordon blue was, but it sounded French and complicated and he figured I wouldn’t make it. That way, he didn’t have to actually think of something I could make for dinner.

Every time he mentions it, I call his bluff, tell him what chicken cordon blue is (for some reason he keeps forgetting) and he backs off from it. Finally, I figured that the best way to finish this routine was to actually make some chicken cordon blue so he could decide for himself whether he wanted it or not. I’m not sure now if that was such a great idea.

Chicken cordon blue (fried chicken breasts stuffed with ham & cheese) has never sounded that appealing to me, it made me think of ’50s housewives, but I was determined to find a good recipe. I couldn’t find any on epicurious.com, but allrecipes.com had plenty of well-rated cordon blue recipes. I decided on this one not only because it got great reviews, but because it was very simple and it came with a sauce. It was a great choice. The chicken was quite good and the sauce worthy of its many calories.

I diverged from the original recipe in a few ways. I used prosciutto instead of ham, Provolone cheese instead of Swiss, and beef bouillon instead of chicken bouillon. I also cooked it for only 20 minutes instead of the required 30 as several reviewers had complained that the chicken was too dry. The chicken was fully cooked after 20 minutes so it didn’t require any extra time.

This dish is actually good enough that you could serve to company.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 slices Provolone or Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices prosciutto or ham
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp. chicken or beef bouillon granules
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch


Pound the chicken breasts until they are very thin. Place a slice of cheese and prosciutto on each breast. Fold over and fasten with toothpicks. Mix the flour with the paprika. Dust the breasts with the flour mixture.

In a large skillet melt the butter. Brown the chicken breasts on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until done.

Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm. Mix the whipping cream with the cornstarch. Whisk gradually into the simmering sauce. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

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