Classic Chicken a la King

Introduction:

Looking for a comforting and elegant dish to impress your family or guests? Look no further than Classic Chicken à la King—a timeless favorite that never fails to delight. With its rich and creamy sauce, tender chicken, and medley of colorful vegetables, Chicken à la King is the epitome of comfort food with a touch of sophistication. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of this beloved dish, explore its key ingredients and flavors, and learn how to recreate it at home for a memorable dining experience.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped drained pimientos
  • 4 cups chopped cooked chicken

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add in mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in flour and stir until there are no more specks of flour left. Pour in chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. For a richer sauce: in a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks with heavy cream. Working quickly, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg mixture while whisking vigorously. Immediately pour this mixture back into the saucepan, whisking the entire time. Cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Stir in frozen peas, drained pimientos, and cooked chicken and let heat through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Serve hot over cooked rice, pasta, toast, or biscuits

Serving Tips:

  1. Over Toast or Biscuits: Serve Classic Chicken à la King over toasted bread, biscuits, or puff pastry for a comforting and hearty meal.
  2. Accompanied by Rice or Pasta: Pair Chicken à la King with cooked rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes to soak up the creamy sauce and create a satisfying meal.
  3. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Before serving, garnish each portion of Chicken à la King with chopped fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color and a burst of flavor.
  4. Side Salad or Steamed Vegetables: Balance the richness of Chicken à la King with a side salad dressed in a light vinaigrette or a selection of steamed vegetables for added freshness and nutrition.
  5. Individual Ramekins: For an elegant presentation, serve Chicken à la King in individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls, topped with a sprinkle of grated cheese or breadcrumbs, and baked until bubbly and golden.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover Classic Chicken à la King in an airtight container or tightly sealed with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Consume within 3-4 days to ensure freshness and safety.
  2. Freezing: Chicken à la King can be frozen for longer storage. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Reheating: Reheat refrigerated or thawed Chicken à la King gently on the stovetop over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add a splash of chicken broth or milk to maintain the creamy consistency.
  4. Avoid Overcooking: To prevent the chicken from becoming tough or the vegetables from becoming mushy, reheat Chicken à la King gently and avoid prolonged cooking times.
  5. Quality Check: Before serving reheated Chicken à la King, ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety. Discard any leftovers that have been stored for an extended period or show signs of spoilage, such as off odors or unusual texture.

FAQs:

  1. What does “à la King” mean, and why is this dish called Chicken à la King? The term “à la King” is French and translates to “in the style of the King.” Chicken à la King is believed to have been named in honor of an American hotel owner named William King in the late 19th century. The dish gained popularity on restaurant menus and was associated with luxury and sophistication, hence the royal connotation.
  2. Can I use pre-cooked chicken for Chicken à la King? Yes, pre-cooked chicken can be used in Chicken à la King to save time. Simply dice or shred cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken and add it to the sauce along with the vegetables during the final stages of cooking.
  3. Is Chicken à la King a spicy dish? No, Chicken à la King is not traditionally a spicy dish. It features a creamy sauce seasoned with herbs and spices, but it is not typically spicy. However, you can adjust the level of heat by adding red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste.
  4. Can I make Chicken à la King ahead of time for a dinner party? Yes, Chicken à la King can be made ahead of time for a dinner party. Prepare the dish as instructed, allow it to cool, and then store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving, adding a splash of broth or milk to maintain the creamy consistency.
  5. What are some common side dishes to serve with Chicken à la King? Chicken à la King pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Common accompaniments include rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, biscuits, or crusty bread to soak up the creamy sauce. Additionally, a side salad or steamed vegetables can add freshness and balance to the meal.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Classic Chicken à la King is a timeless dish that continues to captivate diners with its rich flavors and comforting appeal. Whether enjoyed as a cozy family dinner or served at a dinner party, its creamy sauce, tender chicken, and colorful vegetables never fail to impress. By mastering the art of Chicken à la King in your own kitchen, you can bring a touch of elegance and warmth to any mealtime gathering. So why wait? Roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the classic flavors of Chicken à la King.