Friday, August 29, 2003

Retro Recipe: Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King is my idea of perfect retro deliciousness. Think bites of moist chicken, bell pepper, mushrooms and peas draped in a dreamy cream sauce. Think more healthful than it looks and sounds. Think quick, think supper. That's Chicken à la King.

Chicken à la King is a go-to recipe when either mushrooms or bell peppers are on sale.

Chicken à la King is a recipe that seems to morph into something new every twenty years or so. While the dish is likely of American origin, the source of this version is a cookbook picked up in France awhile back.

While tempted otherwise, I’ve made only modest reductions to the butter and cream. First, the portion sizes are relatively small. More importantly, since it’s the height of summer and fresh produce is so plentiful, it’s easy to fill out this rich entrée with a grilled vegetable (green beans, anyone?), a nutrient-packed salad and a fresh-fruit dessert.

In this way, we balance our calorie intake over the course of a meal, a day, even an entire week.

ALANNA’s TIPS Make only what you’ll serve immediately, for this dish doesn’t hold over well. Do cook the mushrooms and red peppers together; by the time the mushrooms are soft and sweet, the peppers will be soft but still offer a bit of crunch that contrasts well with the chicken and rich sauce. This dish invites experimentation; try adding minced green onion or a mix of bright-colored green, yellow and orange bell peppers. Early fall is the perfect time to gorge on bell peppers, they’re sweet and plentiful and inexpensive. This is one of my go-to recipes when mushrooms are on sale, too. It’s such a quick and satisfying supper. If you like, serve with rice so there’s something to soak up the creamy sauce.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, caps only if small, otherwise trimmed and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon sherry, brandy or cognac
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven on medium high til shimmery, then add mushrooms and red pepper at the same time. Sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the peppers slightly soft. Set vegetables aside.

Melt the second 1 tablespoon butter until beginning to sizzle, then add chicken pieces and stir to coat with fat. Stirring occasionally, cook until chicken appears white on the outside.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then whisk in cream, sherry and seasoning. Stir mixture into chicken and stir gently for 3 – 4 minutes until chicken is fully cooked (do not allow to boil) and adding mushroom, pepper and peas at the last until heated through.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 348 Calories; 19g Tot Fat; 12g Sat Fat; 226mg Cholesterol; 153mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 2g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 31g Protein; Weight Watchers 7 points This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.

This column was first published in print in 2003 and is published online for the first time in 2009.
Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher.
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What's for Supper? More Chicken Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chicken Cider Stew Chicken Sybil Tin Foil Chicken & Veggies

More Ways with Peppers

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Red & Yellow Pepper Relish Grilled Pepper Salad Ratatouille
~ more bell pepper recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Grilled Pepper & Tomato Salad ~
~ Stuffed Peppers ~
~ Peperonata with Potatoes ~
~ more bell pepper recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2003 Kitchen Parade

Friday, August 22, 2003

Wild Rice Salad

One of my very favorite summer salad recipes, hearty with wild rice, crunchy with vegetables. No mayonnaise or eggs, so especially good for picnics and outdoor parties.

Wild Rice Salad

According to Objibway Indian legend, 21st century cooks can thank a hungry hunter and a dispatched duck for the nutty delicacy we call wild rice.

One late-summer evening, a hunter returned to camp hungry but without game. Perched on the rim of a pot above his cold fire was a duck. Startled, the bird flew into the darkness. When the hunter peered into the pot, he found coarse grains the duck had left behind. He cooked it in water – and happily filled his hungry belly with delicious soup.

The next day, the hunter set out in the direction the duck had flown and soon came upon a marsh filled with wildfowl feasting upon the wild grain. The hunter knew he and his people would never go hungry again.

For contemporary eaters, wild rice is higher in protein and fiber and a fifth lower in calories than both white and brown rice.

Cooked, it has a nutty, almost buttery flavor enhanced here in a cold side salad by softly sautéed vegetables.

ALANNA's TIPS The rice can be boiled in water but broth (any kind, chicken, beef, vegetable) adds flavor. Chop the onion first, then start it to sauté, adding the celery and mushrooms as they’re chopped. The red pepper is left uncooked to add color and texture contrast. If you like, splash the rice with balsamic vinegar after mixing in the vegetables.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Makes 8 cups
  • 1 cup wild rice (about 6 ounces)
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 ribs celery, chopped
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked (optional)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse rice in cold water, then place in a Dutch oven. Stir in broth and ½ teaspoon salt (promotes fluffiness). Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to medium, cover and boil softly 45 to 60 minutes or until rice is light and fluffy. Drain if necessary and return rice to Dutch oven.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet on medium high and add butter. Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms until soft. Transfer vegetable mixture to the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon, leaving vegetable liquid in pan. Add peas and red pepper to the rice mixture and combine. Add garlic to cooking liquid and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Pour garlic and remaining liquid over rice and stir together. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Half Cup: 81 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 14g Carb; 2g Fiber; 27mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; 3g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 1, PointsPlus 2

More About Wild Rice

Minnesota wild rice: natural wild rice on the left, cultivated wild rice on the right

Wild rice isn't actually rice! It's a member of the grass family.

In my home state of Minnesota, native Americans still harvest wild rice by hand from the state's many lakes and rivers.

Most of us, however, only have access to cultivated wild rice. It is darker in color and takes longer to cook. Even after about 40 minutes, the 'spears' of cultivated wild rice can be quite chewy. This is why many wild rice recipes pair wild rice with white or brown rice that is softer after cooking.

Natural wild rice is lighter and more varied in color. It also cooks much more quickly and because it's softer, it needn't be mixed with other rices.

In Minnesota, every grocery store carries cultivated wild rice for about $5 a pound but even there it's more difficult to find natural wild rice, which sells for $7 or $8 a pound. Both are a treat but whenever I get the chance, I choose natural wild rice.

More Wild Rice Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Creamy Wild Rice Soup Turkey Wild Rice Casserole Oven-Baked Brown Rice
~ more salad recipes ~

More Recipes with 'History'

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Buffalo Ragout Apple Cider Indian Pudding Butter Tart Bars

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ About Wild Rice ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2003 Kitchen Parade

Friday, August 8, 2003

Thick Chops with Mustard Crust

This is one of my very oldest recipes, the way I've been cooking my family's favorite "Iowa chops" in the oven for ever so long. The chops are topped with a mustardy crust of mustard (naturally!), bread crumbs and fresh herbs.

Thick Chops with Mustard Crust ♥, just top pork chops with mustardy bread crumbs, then bake.
This is a 2003 column published for the first time in 2007 to accompany a special piece, The Heartbeat of Iowa, about my recent trip to Iowa to visit some "happy pigs".

Here’s a recipe destined to become a household staple because of its simplicity and flexibility.

It’s simple enough for weeknight fare but special enough for guests. It makes up in minutes and can be made in advance.

Most of all, the recipe invites your culinary creativity.

Out of mustard? That’s okay, substitute a tangy horseradish sauce. No parsley? Try rosemary or tarragon or cilantro or oregano or …

French bread crumbs are soft and delightful but what about trying rye or pumpernickel? No time to make bread crumbs? Use dry crumbs (but cut the quantity by about half).

Prefer a bit more spice to your meat? Sprinkle the chops with cayenne pepper or chili powder. Not in the mood for pork? Experiment with chicken or fish or lamb.

ALANNA's TIPS If your butcher looks puzzled by the term "Iowa chop", just ask for rib chops cut one-inch thick. If there's time, before baking, first brine the pork chops in a quart of water with 2/3 cup of brown sugar and 2/3 cup kosher salt for up to 24 hours. It will add moisture to the meat.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Oven time: 25 minutes
4 servings
  • 4 1-inch "Iowa" pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon good mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons good mustard
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs from French bread

Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

CHOPS Coat tops and bottoms of chops with thin mustard coat. Season with salt and pepper.

CRUST Stir together crust ingredients and divide equally on top of chops. Press crumbs lightly with back of a spoon to adhere. Transfer to lightly oiled heavy baking pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145F - 160F. (Why 145F - 160F? It's all explained here, Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?) If the crumbs don’t brown, place under the broiler for one or two minutes – watching carefully to prevent burning!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 397 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 20g Carb; 1g Fiber; 320mg Sodium; 133mg Cholesterol; 46g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 9 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 9 Iowa Chops are large, the “ladies” typically share a large chop, while the men go for whole ones.

More Ideas for Pork Chops

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner Juicy Pork Chops Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples
~ more pork recipes ~