Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King is an amazing "comfort food" recipe consisting of diced chicken in a fabulous cream sauce, often containing sherry, mushrooms and various vegetables, and typically served over rice, pasta, or some crunchy type of bread.  Recipes have been published since the late 1800's for this dish.  Since we are still cooking it today, that should be and indicator of how awesome it tastes!

Don't let the long list deter you... we are making a seasoning blend from stuff you probably already have in the spice cabinet!


Ingredients:   
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (not table salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
  • 5 Tbsp butter, in pats
  • 8 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour 
  • 6 Tbsp cream sherry + 1/2 cup more to finish
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • or substitute 1 1/2 cups heavy cream + 1 cup chicken broth 
  • Puff pastry cups (or pasta, or crostini) to serve
Step-by-Step:
Prep all the veggies.

Mix the flour and softened butter together and set aside.  This will act as our thickener later on.
8 Tbsp butter + 1/4 cup flour

Create a spice blend by combining dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, paprika, and dry mustard.  Set this aside.

Trim the chicken of fat and cut into 1" cubes.  Sprinkle the chicken with 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of the spice blend.
Preheat a heavy pot for about five minutes.  For  this I like a cast enamel dutch oven.  Add the chicken to the hot pot and dot the top with the 5 Tbsp butter.
5 Tbsp butter in pats
Cover and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  
Uncover, add the sherry and the vegetables, and the remaining spice blend.  Stir well, cover and cook another 5 minutes.


6 Tbsp cream sherry
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup green bell peppers
1 cup chopped mushrooms
remaining seasoning blend
 


Uncover the pot and add in the butter and flour mixture.  Stir and cook until it dissolves into the sauce.
flour + butter mixture

Now stir in the cream (or cream and broth), and let it continue to cook until little volcanoes are erupting.  Don't let it come to a rolling boil.  
2 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/2 cups cream + 1 cup chicken broth)

Finish if desired with the addition of a little more sherry. 
1/2 cup cream sherry
These really aren't part of the recipe, but here were the puff pastry cups.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
Immediately push down the tops into the cavity with the handle of a wooden spoon.  These make great appetizers!  There may be a large size available in some stores.

Serve over puff pastry cups, or a nice crusty crostini, or pasta.

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Written Method: 
Mix the flour and softened butter together and set aside.  This will act as our thickener later on.

Create a spice blend by combining dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, paprika, and dry mustard.  Set this aside.

Trim the chicken of fat and cut into 1" cubes.  Sprinkle the chicken with 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of the spice blend. Preheat a heavy pot for about five minutes.  For  this I like a cast enamel dutch oven. 

Add the chicken to the hot pot and dot the top with the 5 Tbsp butter.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  

Add the sherry and the vegetables, and the remaining spice blend.  Stir well, cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Uncover the pot and add in the butter and flour mixture.  Stir and cook until it dissolves into the sauce.

Now stir in the cream (or cream and broth), and let it continue to cook until little volcanoes are erupting.  Don't let it come to a rolling boil. 

Finish if desired with the addition of a little more sherry. 

Serve over puff pastry cups, or a nice crusty crostini, or pasta.

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