At long last I’m back in the kitchen. When I was deciding what to cook for dinner I suddenly had a desire for some chicken a la king. A dish I remember well from early visits to restaurants as a teenager (oh how exotic it seemed then). I’ve tried to find out where it originated and, as with many classic dishes, there are many different theories.
My favourite (and therefore the one I’m going with is that it was created by Chef George Greenwald, at the Brighten Beach Hotel in New York in the early 1900s. He prepared a special chicken dish one evening for the owners, Mr and Mrs Clark King II. It was such a success that it’s said the next day it was added to the menu as Chicken à la King for the princely sum of $1.25.
I love its simplicity and creaminess as do people of all ages. It was a favourite of my youngest nephew Cuan’s for a while, when he regularly (and very cutely) asked if he could have Chicken on a King for dinner.
My recipe uses cream, but you could make a basic white sauce instead using milk if you’re looking for a lower fat option. I also added peas, which I don’t think is traditional, as I wanted a bit of green in the mix and their sweetness and bite added something extra.
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
170ml double cream
2 tbsps sunflower oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced into rounds
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps flour
250ml chicken stock
Handful of fresh thyme, leaves only
Put the chopped chicken into a plastic bag and pour in the lemon juice and double cream. Mix thoroughly, seal the bag and leave to marinate for two hours.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the butter and the mushrooms, stir through and cook over a low heat for another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir through.
Pour in the chicken stock and stir until everything blends together and thickens.
Add the chicken from the bag and squeeze all the cream and juice into the mixture. Stir through.
Add the thyme leaves and stir through.
Cook for 15 mins, then add the peas.
Then cook for another 10 mins until the chicken is done.
Serve on a bed of rice.
I’m glad I was reminded of this delicious dish, it’s one that’s now definitely part of my regular repertoire.
Do you have any classic recipes that you love? I’d love to try them, do get in touch.