I really like watching America’s Test Kitchen, and follow them on Facebook. So, when they announced a Kitchen Challenge to make Chicken à la King, I just had to take up the challenge. What makes my Chicken a la King different? Well, it’s barbecue season, and my Weber was sitting outside, crying that it couldn’t join in the fun. I thought to myself, why not? Pimentos are nothing more than very mild chili peppers. I had some lovely yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, and I had some mushrooms and shallots. I also had a chicken breast. All those could go on the grill, couldn’t they? Sure, they could get a lot of flavor to add to a dish that I already really like.
The America’s Test Kitchen challenge is to cook like it’s 1917. Charcoal was developed from waste wood scrap in the Ford Motor Company in 1920, and renamed Kingsford thereafter. Kingsford was a relative of Henry Ford. The Weber grill was not invented until the 1960s but I’m sure that people were barbecuing in some sort of fashion in 1917 – how else would Henry Ford have been able to sell charcoal? I think I’m okay with the time-line, don’t you?
When I was a little girl growing up in Germany, my mother would sometimes take me to lunch at the Officers’ Club – and I would have Chicken a la King. It was always served in a pastry shell, and it was delicious. When we came back to the United States, to make me happy, my mother would buy the Swanson Chicken a la King in a can, and serve it on a pastry shell. It didn’t taste as good as the Officers’ Club, but, who was I to complain?
So, my plan was to make the Chicken a la King and serve it in a pastry shell. Do you think I could find any pastry shells? Of course not. But, I did find croissants, and they are kind of festive, so I got those instead. When I got home, I remembered having luscious chicken croissants at Croissants USA when it was in Beverly Hills years ago. Those had swiss cheese and creamed chicken – I had white cheddar and decided to do something similar.
Yesterday, I fired up Wilma (all my appliances are girls), and waited for her coals to get nice and hot. While I was doing that, I tossed slices mushrooms with some chopped shallots in oil. I put the peppers on the grill, and then the mushrooms. I swirled the chicken breast in the left over oil in the bowl that the mushrooms had been in. When the mushrooms and peppers were done, I put the chicken breast on the grill as well. I didn’t add any other seasoning to it, because it was going to be in a cream sauce. Then when it was done, I put it and the vegetables in separate containers and refrigerated them until today.
Since the recipe at America’s Test Kitchen for Chicken a la King doesn’t call for grilled anything, I made the sauce separately, and added the grilled ingredients when the sauce was finished.
Recipe: Chicken à la King – Weber Style
Summary: This dish is inspired by the America’s Test Kitchen Cook Like it’s 1917 Chicken à la King Challenge
On the Grill
- 6 small sweet peppers
- 10 whole mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Shallots in oil
- 1 chicken breast, skinned and boned
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon chicken base
- 1 cup water
- 1 True Lemon packet
- 1/4 cup Marsala
- 1/4 cup White wine
- 1 cup cream
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 Croissants
- 1/2 cup grated White Cheddar
On the Grill
- Get the coals started on your grill.
- In a bowl, put the mushrooms and shallots in oil. Stir the mushrooms so they are well coated with the shallots. Set aside.
- While the mushrooms are sitting, put the peppers on the grill. Use one of those grates with the little holes in them, and just put the peppers directly on the grate.
- When the peppers are cooked on one side, about 5 minutes, put another grate on the grill and put the mushrooms on that.
- Put the chicken breast in the same bowl the mushrooms were in the swirl it about so it gets coated with the remaining oil.
- Check the mushrooms at about 3 minutes and turn them to brown on the other side. Cook until they are nice and soft, about 3 more minutes. Don’t let them over cook.
- Remove both the peppers and mushrooms from the grill and set aside.
- Put the chicken directly on the grill. Grill on one side for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken, then turn and grill for another 10 minutes on the other side. Don’t let the chicken burn. Remove it from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 on an instant read thermometer. Let it cool, then store it put it in a container in the refrigerator. Do the same with the peppers and mushrooms, but store them in separate containers.
Make the Sauce
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter.
- Add the green onions and sauté until they have started to wilt.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the green onions and set them aside.
- Add the flour to the butter. Whisk the butter and flour together until the flour has absorbed all the butter and starts to tan – do not let it brown.
- Add the chicken base and whisk it into the flour mixture.
- Add the Marsala, lemon and water. Whisk until the liquid thickens.
- Add the cream and wine.
- Turn the heat to low and let the mixture simmer until it thickens, whisking occasionally.
- When the sauce has thickened to the point where a spatula leaves trail when dragged through sauce, about 5 minutes.
- Chop the peppers and cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes.
- Add the green onions, peppers, mushrooms and chicken to the sauce, and let it cook for another 3 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.
- While that is happening, slice each croissant widthwise and open it up, removing the top. Set the top aside.
- Put the grated white cheddar on the croissant.
- Heat the croissants in the microwave for 20 seconds, or until the cheese has melted.
- Spoon some of the Chicken a la King on to the cheesy part of the croissant, then put the top half back on. Serve.
You don’t have to cool the grilled ingredients over night, but they taste better that way. If you’re in a hurry, just wait until you can comfortably touch the chicken to cut it.
If you don’t want to do this on the barbecue, it’s very easy to do it on the stove top. Just sauté the mushrooms and peppers first, then cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces, sauté them separately, then continue as above.
If you can’t find True Lemon, use lemon juice, but reduce the amount of water by 1 tablespoon.
Preparation time: 24 hour(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.