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.

QUICK SUPPER:
CHICKEN à la KING RECIPE

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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Are those baby red bells in the photo, or another kind of pepper? They are cute and look delish!
 
P.S. Been a fan for a very long time (years) but I think I'm a first-time commenter. Wait, no, I think you emailed me once, and I felt like a rockstar had signed my shirt!

Thanks again for your work. Even if I don't make every recipe (law student, ugh) I enjoy reading them all. :) Your family is lucky to have such a competent, creative, healthy chef at the helm.
 
Kate C ~ Good question! The whole one on the left is one of those mini sweet peppers that are showing up in the markets now, they're fun for bite-size stuffing for appetizers. I used it just for garnish, and a whole sweet red bell pepper for the chicken dish.
 
Kate C ~ Aii, thanks so much for the very kind words, they arrive at a good moment! And you'll laugh, because I'm working on a recipe that I'm calling Rockstar XXX because it made ME, and hopefully you, feel like a rock star when making it the first time! Thanks for your support and feedback, it means the world.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna