Chicken A La King – A wonderful creamy chicken dinner with flavors out of this world! The chicken is lovely and tender, and together with the peppers and mushrooms in a wonderful cream sauce, this is perfect served with rice or pasta. Really tasty!
Chicken A La King!
Upon reading the words, ‘Chicken A La King’… I am immediately transported way back to the early 1970’s when I lived in Colonial Hong Kong. I could vividly remember the dish, I would order it every single Saturday when we would go out for our family dinner at the ‘USRC’ which was a recreation club for British ExPats.
I could remember the tastes, smells, textures and even how the waiter would serve this dish, placing the rice on my plate and then making a well with his shiny spoon, ready to accommodate that delicious Chicken in it’s velvety creamy sauce. oh boy! I simply had to make this dish again, if only to see, as a challenge, if my memory served me correct with how wonderful I thought this dish was.
So last night, I set about making this dish. I made two, with slight variations, one a full cream sauce and the other not so high in cream and butter! Of course, the full cream one was more luxurious, and also the calories were way heavier! So I decided that I would share the slightly healthier version. The flavours certainly are exactly as I remembered. The smells, even down to the texture of the chicken when you bite into it was a mirror match! So let me share a little piece of my ‘memory lane’ with you all and I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I did.
3 – 4 Chicken Breasts
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
2 Tablespoons cold water
4 – 6 Fresh Sage Leaves
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
A handful (1 cup) of white mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup or 50 g butter
1/2 Cup or 50 g All Purpose Flour
1/2 pint or 250 ml milk
1/2 pint or 250 ml or Chicken broth
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cream
3 Tablespoons Port, Sherry or another FORTIFIED wine. I use Port.
1. First, prepare the chicken by cutting into 1 inch pieces and placing in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and water and combine. Set aside.
2. Slice the onion, (not chop) and wash and clean the bell peppers and slice them length ways like in the photo. Slice the mushrooms thin. Chop the sage leaves and divide into 2. Place one half of the chopped sage in the bowl of chicken and mix it all with some black pepper.
3. Use a large fry pan, heat up the olive oil and on a gentle heat, saute the onions, mushrooms and peppers until soft. If you like your peppers to have a ‘bite’ to them, add them when the onions just begin to go translucent. *** Be sure not to let the onions burn or go brown as this will make everything taste bitter.
4. Use a slotted spoon and transfer all the vegetables to a plate, leaving any juices in the pan. Turn the heat up high, and add the chicken, stirring so every side of the meat is quickly sealed. *** Before adding the chicken, just give it a stir in the bowl so the cornstarch will be all over the chicken again. It usually settles to the bottom of the bowl!
Once the chicken is sealed on all sides, turn the heat off and set the pan aside. leave the chicken in the pan.
5. Now we make the sauce. Please follow these steps and you will get a nice smooth sauce! First melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour.
6. Use a wooden spoon and stir very well, until it is all combined like the photo. Keep stirring this mix for 1 minute on a medium heat. You need to cook the starch. Then remove from the heat.
7. Start by adding 3 Tablespoons of the milk. Combine using the spoon, stirring until it is combined. Then add 1/3 of the milk, again, stir until it is combined.
8. Keep stirring the mixture, it will take a couple of minutes, and you will get lumps like in the photo. Don’t worry at this stage! The lumps will go, so long as you stir. Use your wooden spoon to make sure none of the flour is stuck in the sides of the pan. At this stage, return the pan to a medium heat, and add the remaining milk.
9. If you have a hand whisk, switch to using it now, and add the remaining chopped sage, and chicken broth. Continue to stir until the sauce becomes a thickness that you like. It should be a ‘coating’ consistency. Be patient, it will seem like nothing is happening for a while, then suddenly, hey presto! The sauce immediately thickens. Keep stirring!
10. When it has thickened, remove from the heat.
11. Return the fry pan to the heat and add the onions, peppers etc to the chicken. Then add the sauce to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil under a medium heat, stirring occasionally. When boiling, add the port and the cream, stirring so everything is combined, then bring back to the boil. Taste the sauce and see if you need to season with salt & pepper. Once it is boiling, your dinner is ready! Serve with rice or your favorite pasta, and sprinkle some chopped sage for garnish and enjoy!
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