Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken and Rice: Chicken a'la King

Chicken a'la King is just about classic American comfort food.  Chicken in a rich creamy sauce, often with vegetables, served over toast, biscuits, noodles, or rice.  There is a lot of variations to the recipes, but the basic format is cooked chopped chicken in white sauce.

White sauce is easy.  It's melted butter with flour stirred in to make a paste, then add milk and whisk the hell out of it until it's smooth and bring it to a boil until it's the desired thickness.  Along the way you season it for whatever you're making.  If you figure out white sauce you can use it almost anywhere you'd use a cream soup for sauce. 

Here's my Chicken a'la King recipe.  I love it over biscuits or toast, but since our theme is Chicken and Rice we'll go with that.  I also recommend you Google the recipe for variations, and don't be afraid to play with it!
Chicken a'la King

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz total)
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
2 fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 c frozen peas and carrots, thawed and drained

Cook the chicken breasts.  I like to just toss it in my frying pan, brown it on both sides, put a lid on it and let it cook until done.  Take the chicken breasts out and let them cool.

Put the butter in the same pan at medium-high heat stirring all that good chicken flavor into it while it melts.  Add the onion, celery and mushroom and sautee them until they are soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and rapidly stir in the flour with a whisk.  Return to the heat and add the milk, chicken bouillon and seasonings.  Stir extremely well, getting all the flour-and-butter paste (called roux) mixed into the milk, then whisk it until it comes to a boil.  Once it boils whisk the heck out of it, stirring very well, until it's the desired thickness.

Turn the heat down as soon as it's thick.  Add the peas and carrots.  Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and add them to the pan.  Stir well.

If it's too thick, add some milk; too thin, bring it back up to a boil briefly.  Be really careful not to burn it. Remove from heat.  Serve over toast, egg noodles, biscuits or rice.

I've cooked the chicken special for my recipe, but this is an ideal use for leftovers.  I would go for about two cups of chopped cooked chicken and increase the bouillon by another teaspoon for flavor.  You could have almost any "creamed meat" with the same basic formula.  And if you really want a fast version, use cream of chicken soup instead of making white sauce!

Junior's not too sure of any meat in sauce,
but it was his turn to be in the blog.

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