Chicken A La King

Chicken A La King

When I think of classic Diner dishes I think of Meatloaf, Burgers, French Fries, Onion Rings and of course the oft ill thought of “Blue Plate Special” but there is another very simple recipe that has seen a bit of a resurgence lately and the one I am referring to is Chicken A L King.

The little bit of culinary history that I know about this dish is that it started as a way for restaurants to use up left over chicken and thus (did I really use the word THUS?) lower the wastage of food and to add more dollars to their bottom line. It doesn’t hurt that this dish is also easy to make and oh so good.

The other thing I like about this particular recipe is it is inexpensive to make. If you use generic ingredients, except for the chicken, then you can feed a family of four for around $20.00 and in today’s economy that’s not half bad. Oh and although this looks “prep heavy” it’s not really.

So here’s my take on a classic Diner dish……..

Ingredients:

         Two medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts or six boneless skinless chicken thighs – diced

          One package extra broad egg noodles

         One package frozen peas and carrots

         2 Tins mushroom pieces

         1 ½ cups Chicken stock

         ¼ cup All Purpose flour

         3 Tablespoons butter

         1 Teaspoon granulated garlic or two chopped garlic cloves

         1 Teaspoon White pepper

         1 ½ Tablespoons Tarragon

         Pinch of salt

         3 Tablespoons Olive oil

         ¼ Cup heavy cream (35% whipping cream)

 

Method:

         Bring a large pot of water to a rolling simmer

         In a large mixing bowl place the chicken and the herbs and spices and mix well

         Add the oil to a large fry pan and add the chicken in batches removing with a slotted spoon when done

         Add the butter and when melted whisk in the flour and make a blonde roux

         Add in the Chicken stock and whisk until you get the consistency you like

         Add the frozen peas and carrots and the mushrooms and simmer for approximately four minutes

         Add the chicken and the heavy cream and bring to a boil

         Cover and turn the heat down to low

         Bring the pasta water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions

         Drain the pasta, plate and top with the Chicken mixture

 

You can serve this dish with pasta, as I like to, or with rice and if you get really ambitious you can use fresh baked biscuits.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time…….

Bon Appetit

Butternut Squash soup

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One of the very first soups I ever learned to make was Butternut Squash which in itself is rather amazing because I don’t like squash any other way but in soup. One of the great things about this Gourd is its versatility. It can be cubed, mashed, baked, grilled and made into soup but as I said the only way I will eat it is in a soup. The other great thing about this soup is that you can add almost anything you want in order to, as the Great Emeril Lagasse would say “kick it up a notch”. Things like Leeks, Curry, Bacon, Apples—- you’re limited by your imagination.

So here’s my version of a “simple but tasty” soup that is great anytime of the year.

Ingredients:

–         1 Large Butternut squash peeled seeded and rough chopped

–         3 Large Yukon Gold (or any other yellow potato) peeled and rough chopped

–         1 Medium White onion, peeled and rough chopped

–         4 Cups Chicken stock

–         1 Cup 35% Heavy cream

–         ½ Cup all- purpose flour

–         ¼ Cup butter

–         Salt and White pepper to taste

–         4 Tablespoons Olive oil

Method:

–         Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven

–         Melt the butter in the oil

–         When the butter has melted whisk in the flour and make a roux

–         Add the chicken stock, a little at a time, and whisk until smooth

–         Add the onions, squash and potatoes and bring to a boil

–         Reduce heat and simmer on medium until the squash, potatoes and onions are fork tender

–         If you have an Immersion blender blend  until smooth if you don’t have an immersion blender then use a Blender and blend the soup in small batches

–         Put the soup back in the pot and add the cream and stir until incorporated

–         Leave the soup simmering on medium for approx. 5 more minutes and the heavy cream will start to thicken the soup

–         Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy

So there you have it a “simple but tastey” AND inexpensive soup that really takes no time at all to make but looks and tastes like you have been at it all day.

See you next time…….

                            Bon Appetit

Chicken fried steak

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It seems that whenever I mention this recipe to someone I get the whole “chicken fried WWWHHHAAATTT????” and to be honest when I first heard about this dish some 30 years ago when it was called “Steak and Bake” I had the same reaction. Well fast forward 30 years and it’s not a stranger anymore.

One of the reasons I really like this recipe is that it is using an inexpensive cut of meat that does not require and inordinate amount of time to cook AND when you add smashed potatoes , “milk” gravy and a vegetable you can feed a family of four  for under $20.00. That’s right you heard me — UNDER $20.00.

Here’s how:

Ingredients:

–          1 2 pound Round steak

–          1 Cup of flour

–          ½ cup milk

–          2 Tablespoon salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion

–          3 Eggs (whisked)

–          1 Cup bread crumbs or cracker meal (I use Kellogg’s bread crumbs)

–          1 Cup of milk

–          ½ cup Butter

–          1/2 Cup plus 3 tablespoons Canola oil

–          Chicken stock

–          1 Medium onion, diced

Method:

–          Cut the steak into four serving sizes

–          Mix the spices with the flour and place on a flat surface

–          Dip the steak into the seasoned flour then the eggs and finally the bread crumbs

–          Repeat with all four pieces

–          Heat a half cup of Canola oil in a large non- stick pan

–          Fry the steak until golden brown

–          Remove from the oil and drain on some paper towel

–          In a separate sauté pan heat the remaining Canola oil and add the butter

–          Sauté the onions until just translucent, about three minutes

–          Sprinkle in half the seasoned flour and whisk until incorporated

–          Allow the flour to cook off for approx. 5 minutes

–          Slowly add the chicken stock until you get the consistency you want

–          Add the milk and let reduce until the gravy is as thick as you would like

Serve the steak with your sides, I suggest smashed potatoes and green beans and ladel on the gravy.

There you have it. Simple ,tasty and inexpensive.

Bon Appetit