The History of Chicken a La King and How to Make It

Chicken a la king is a tasty chicken dish featuring green bell peppers, pimientos, and mushrooms in a sherry sauce. The dish is served on toast and if you like to make chicken recipes but are looking for a change from fried chicken, maybe you would like to make this special dish.

Chicken a la king was invented somewhere between 1881 and the 1920s and there are a few different stories to explain its history. One story goes that this recipe was invented in New York at the Waldorf Astoria in the 1900s. Another story is that chicken a la king was invented in the 1920s in either Long Island or in Miami.

Other people believe that chicken a la king was created in London, at Claridge’s Hotel, for JR Keene, a sportsman, after his horse had won the Grand Prix. A similar tale is that the dish was suggested to the chef in a restaurant in New York by Mr. or Mrs. Keene in the 1890s and the dish changed its name from Keene to king.

The most popular belief about the history of this famous chicken recipe is that Chef George Greenwald invented it in New York sometime between 1898 and the early twentieth century. Mr. King, the owner of the hotel, was very impressed with the recipe and wanted it on the hotel restaurant menu.

Tips for Delicious Chicken a la King

Traditionally this recipe contains green bell pepper but you can use green peas instead if you prefer. Instead of the toast, you might like to use vol au vent cases or puff pastry shells.

You can freeze chicken a la king, so make double if you like, then you can thaw it in the microwave or on the stove the next time you fancy making this classic chicken recipe.

Recipe for Chicken a la King

This recipe can be served with rice or mashed potatoes instead of the toast, if you prefer. This makes enough to serve four people.

You will need:

  • 4 cooked, chopped chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 oz chopped pimiento
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 4 1/2 oz can mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 slices toast

How to make it:

Drain the mushrooms but keep the liquid. Cook the mushrooms with the bell pepper in the butter for five minutes over a moderate heat. Take them off the heat and stir in the flour, salt, and black pepper.

Cook the mixture until it is bubbly, then take it off the heat again and stir in the milk, mushroom liquid, water, sherry, and bouillon. Bring it to a boil, and then cook it for a minute. Stir in the pimiento and chicken and cook for another minute, then serve the chicken mixture on the toast.

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