This version of chicken a la king is a classic recipe from the early 1900s. It consists of cubed cooked chicken, mushrooms, green peppers and pimentos smothered in a thick rich cream sauce. As creamed dishes go this is one of the very best. I’ve included a modern version in the notes.
It is said that the recipe was an invention of the chief at the Brighten Beach Hotel at Brighten Beach New York around 1900. After that it became a popular dish and was often served at women’s club luncheons, wedding receptions and other events. Recipes for this dish began appearing in cookbooks around the early 1900s. At one time the dish was a standard item on restaurant lunch menus. It was a fashionable way to serve chicken at chafing dish parties during the 1930s and 1940s.
Chicken a la king can be served on hot toast points, biscuits, noodles, rice or in pastry shells. It is oftten served with a light salad and a fruit dessert.
This recipe will serve 8. It can be cut down. Leftovers can be frozen.
Chicken a la King
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- ½ of a green pepper, diced fine
- 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of cream or milk
- 3 cups of cooked chicken, diced
- ½ cup of soft butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon of onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of red wine or sherry
- ¼ cup or less pimiento, chopped fine
The chicken can be baked or stewed. I use baked chicken breasts. Remove the skin and take the meat off the bones. Cut the cooked chicken into cubes. If you don’t have exactly 3 cups don’t worry. Use what you have. Sit the cubed chicken aside in the refrigerator.
Prepare the green pepper, the mushrooms and the pimento. Set these aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and the diced green pepper. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until the green pepper is tender. Sprinkle the salt and then the flour over the vegetables and butter. Stir and cook a few minutes. Pour in the cream or milk while stirring and stir until the mixture thickens.
Pour the sauce mixture into the top of a double boiler or into a heat proof bowl sitting over a sauce pan of simmering water. Stir in the chicken. Cover and allow to cook until the chicken is hot.
Put the ¼ cup of soft butter into a bowl and using a whisk beat it and the egg yolks together. Add the minced onion, the lemon juice and the paprika. Mix well. Pour this mixture slowly into the mixture in the double boiler. Stir until thick. Add a tablespoon or so of wine or sherry and the pimento.
Serve over toast points, biscuits, noodles, rice or in pastry shells.
This is a streamlined version. Cut up some leftover chicken. Cook around a ¼ cup of diced green pepper in a tablespoon or so of butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, a teaspoon of onion powder, a tablespoon or so of wine and enough milk to make the sauce the right consistency. Simmer over medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until hot.
The chicken a la king mixture can be baked along with cooked noodles in a casserole. Mix the cooked noodles with the chicken and sauce. Pour into a casserole dish and cover the top with bread crumbs or crushed buttered crackers. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
There are many variations of this recipe. You can add peas, carrots, celery, red peppers, or almost any vegetable.
The pimentos can be left out. During the time period when the recipe was first made pimentos were put in darn near everything. You could use diced red pepper instead.