Chicken a la King is an old fashioned recipe popular in the 1960s made with chicken, colored bell peppers, and mushrooms in a cream sherry sauce.
The recipe began appearing in new cookbooks and magazines about that time and into the 1970s.
The delicious, gourmet dish was served in many fine restaurants around the country.
Charles Ranhofer, chef at Delmonico is credited with creating it in the 1880s. He named it after Foxhall Parker Keene, calling it Chicken a la Keene.
Others gave credit to William King, a cook at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia, in the 1890s.
The most probable originator was William (Bill) King because several obituaries referred to him as the creator of the recipe.
died on March 4, 1915, an obituary editorial appeared in the New York
Tribune also giving him the credit.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup green bell pepper, julienne cut*
1/4 cup red bell pepper, julienne cut
2 tablespoons yellow or orange bell pepper, julienne cut
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 cup canned sliced mushrooms, with juice
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup dry Sherry(I use Cream Sherry)
Melt butter in skillet on low heat. Add bell pepper strips and saute until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove peppers with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add flour to butter in skillet and stir until all lumps are gone.
Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Stir and cook until mixture is thickened to a thin gravy consistency.
Stir in salt, rubbed sage, and mushrooms. Add chicken breast and cook until bubbly and thickened to a thick gravy consistency.
Stir in sour cream and dry Sherry. Cook until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat.
Serve hot over cooked hot noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Old recipes suggested serving it on top of st plit, hot homemade biscuits.
*Julienne means to cut vegetables into small strips. Usually they are cut on the diagonal.
For this recipe cut the vegetable strips into about 1-1 1/2 inches long pieces.
The original recipe for this dish used colored peppers. Subsequent recipes used green peppers and pimento, which is a sweet red pepper. That was probably because the colored peppers are seasonal.
Canned pimentos are available anytime and may be substituted for the red, yellow, or orange peppers.
All the recipes for Chicken a la King in my recipe books dating from 1947 used egg yolks.
I believe the only purpose they served was to give the sauce a yellow color. The amber color of the Sherry does the same thing.
Cooking Sherry may be substituted for the dry Sherry. The main difference in cooking Sherry and dry Sherry is the salt is added to cooking Sherry for seasoning. If using it, adjust your salt in the recipe, accordingly.
You may use dark chicken meat instead of white meat. You may also use a combination of the two.
If you are going to cook your chicken, add additional flavor by adding a few celery leaves or celery pieces and a small chopped onion to the pot. Also add 1/2 teaspoon salt. This makes a tasty chicken and broth.
About 1 1/2 to 2 pounds uncooked chicken is required.
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