Thursday, 4 September 2014

Chicken a la King

If you want to talk about comfort food and childhood food memories (the good ones), this would be it for me. Chicken, onions, mushrooms and peas in a creamy sauce served over rice...and very easy to make.

I had mushrooms and open chicken stock in the fridge, and some chicken tenders in the freezer to use up last night. This was what I made, and we all enjoyed it...none left for lunch today!

Start by cooking sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil. I used 4, as they were quite large.

Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Next up, the chicken. Cut the meat into cubes, about 1" in size. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the mushroom pan and add some olive oil. Brown the chicken, removing when half cooked, to be added back into the sauce at a later stage.

Now for the sauce. Heat the same pan, it has all the mushroom and chicken flavour in it...

Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Cook 1 medium onion, diced until starting to colour slightly. Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

When the onions are lightly coloured, and softened, add the flour. You will need enough flour to soak up the fat and lightly coat the onions, approximately 3 - 4 tablespoons.

Stir well, to prevent the flour from sticking to the pan and burning, for a couple of minutes.

 Add in the chicken stock, and whisk well until it starts to boil.

I had about 2 1/2 cups of stock. I usually add the stock a bit at a time, judging the thickness of the sauce when it boils, and then adjusting it by adding more stock if it is too thick.

Allow the sauce to simmer while you cook the rice.

 When the rice is halfway through cooking, add the chicken and mushrooms back to the sauce to finish cooking.

When the rice is done, add about 1 cup of  defrosted peas to the sauce to heat through.

Taste and adjust the seasoning one last time.

Serve the sauce over the hot rice, making sure everyone gets their fair share of chicken, mushrooms and peas, and of course the yummy sauce.

  • When I buy chicken breasts I always buy them with tenders still attached. If you remove the tenders and freeze them, you eventually have enough for a meal, as we did tonight.
  • Chicken tenders are perfect for chicken fingers or skewering and grilling, as they don't need any cutting.
  • If you are using up an open chicken stock as I was, and find you don't have enough liquid for the sauce consistency that you want, use milk or water instead of opening another stock.
  • As you are seasoning each step of the way, the sauce should we well seasoned, but always taste and adjust before serving. There's nothing worse than a bland sauce.
  • Turn this into chicken pot pie, by adding chopped carrots into the sauce, and adding less liquid to achieve a thicker sauce. Place into an ovenproof dish and cover with rolled out can purchase pre-rolled puff pastry at some stores, or you can use the pastry recipe in the post Goat Cheese Tart with Grape Tomatoes and Fresh Basil.
  • I like to buy whole chickens on sale and roast 2 at a time, pick the meat off and freeze in small portions. These are perfect for lunch wraps or sandwhiches, but also work well for this recipe. Dice the cooked meat and add to the recipe at the end with the mushrooms. This allows you to skip a step if you are short on time.
  • Leftover turkey (or chicken) from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner can be used up the same way.
  • Using the same pan for all the layers of cooking helps add  flavour and depth to the sauce.
  • We like this over rice, but if you have leftover pasta, use that instead. It's even good served on toast!

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