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Chicken a la King - question

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I will be making the dish this weekend.....haven't done so in many years. Is there any seasoning or ingredient that will add taste to this. I seem to remember it can be bland....some recipes call for a bit of dry sherry which I'll use....but anything else?? I wondered about adding some cranberries for colour and seasonal touch?? Serving with basmati rice, green beans and grilled tomato halves. Thanks!!!

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  1. My mom used to make it during the holidays and always added red and green peppers for the seasonal touch. Or red peppers and a healthy dose of good fresh chopped italian parsley added at the end.

    3 Replies
    1. re: elayne5

      Thanks....I think the parley will certainly add extra flavour I'm looking for!!

      1. re: elayne5

        Yes... this is what I was going to add as well. Then you could always add a dash or two of a wonderful hot pepper sauce. Not so much that would have your guests running out in the snow, though.

        1. re: Gio

          My thoughts exactly - just enough Tabasco to give it the "extra something," but no one can tell what. It doesn't taste like spiced-up chicken a la king, just more like chicken a la king "should" taste.

      2. The mention of basmati rice suggests a light touch with curry powder in the chicken sauce. It would, though, turn it a light yellow, not anything red or green.

        1. My grandmother used to make this with pimentos and green peas added to the cream sauce. She would serve it in those Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells, with rice on the side. That was one of the few things she knew how to make well!
          Add a few dashes of Tabasco to the cream sauce and it will perk up the flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mschow

            Ditto the pimentos and peas with pastry shells...now I want some!

          2. Red peppers or pimentos for sure. I like to add some good mushroom flavor with crimini, shitaki or other flavorful mushrooms. Dried porcini mushrooms are good too and you can use the soaking liquid in the bechamel base.

            I find that rice tends to dilute the flavors in Chicken a la King. I mean, I make the sauce and adjust the seasoning just right then when I serve it over the rice the flavor is diluted quite a lot. I like the Pepperidge Farm Vol a Vant (sp?) idea. The puff pastry compliments the dish better than rice.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JockY

              Thanks for the tips.....I will go with the parsley...a slight hint of curry....Tabasco if it needs.....a little sherry....red peppers...and oh yes, it's definitely going "over" the puff pastry shells....rice on the side. As you can tell, I'll make it up as I go along - just want to make sure the bechamel isn't bleh....and also I have the puff pastry crowns to top it off and am going to decorate with a dob of cranberry chutney on top of each.

              1. re: LoN

                Cranberry chutney on top! What a great idea. I made some cranberry, pear and ginger chutney fron November's Bon Appetite (all gone now) which would have worked. A good excuse to make more :-)

              1. re: DockPotato

                I would ditto this. Actually what I use to perk things up a bit is one of the following"
                poultry seasoning (I like Bell's)
                Pumpkin pie spice
                apple pie spice

                Just a dash can really give it a little something extra & is not overpowering at all.
                Of course, I add more than a dash because I can. And some cayenne.

              2. Can anyone replying to this thread post a recipe for me? I would love to make for my husband. It was a *specialty* of his mom who unfortunately passed away before I was able to get the recipe from her.....thanks!

                2 Replies
                1. re: diablo

                  I was looking for one too.

                  In lieu of someone responding I found this highly rated one on Epicurious:


                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                    Thanks SilverlakeGirl! That recipe looks pretty close :)

                2. Yes to the Sherry, and a little freshly ground white pepper. some peas and pimento or red pepper.

                  My grandmother served hers over Waffles... homemade, with a little cornmeal in them for a rich, crunchy foil to the rich Chicken a la King.

                  1. Now I have to make some chicken a la king during the next week! Haven't had it in years but all this talk has me hungry for it now.

                    1. This is a staple item in German upscale cafes where they call it koenigen pastetchen. It's served in a vol-au-vent (patty shell).


                      1. I make it often, in quantity, to freeze. For a little semi-crunchy texture I add chopped raw celery and chopped scallions and finely chopped green and red pepper, also raw, and plenty of sauteed mushrooms, and some sliced stuffed olives.

                        1. Chicken à la King/Turkey à la King
                          Serves: 6

                          Created by Chef George Greenwald, at the Brighten Beach Hotel, New York in 1898. He prepared a special chicken dish one evening for the owners, Mr. & Mrs. E. Clark King II. Mr. King loved it and wanted it on the menu. It was added to the menu as Chicken à la King ($1.25), and quickly became a great success.


                          • 3 Tablespoons butter
                          • 3 Tablespoons flour
                          • 1 cup chicken stock
                          • 1 cup cooked chicken or cooked turkey
                          • ½ cup sautéed mushrooms
                          • ¼ cup pimiento, chopped
                          • 1 egg yolk, beaten
                          • ¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
                          • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
                          • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
                          • 2 large patty shells


                          1. Preheat oven to 350° F
                          2. In a black cast iron pot, melt butter and stir in flour and blend into a white roux.
                          3. Slowly add chicken stock and stir.
                          4. When the sauce is smooth and boiling, add the chicken, mushrooms and pimiento. Reduce the heat to simmer.
                          5. Pour sauce on beaten egg yolk, mix and return to pot.
                          6. Add black and white peppers.
                          7. Stir in slivered almonds.
                          8. Heat patty shells in 350° F oven for about 5 minutes.
                          9. Fill patty shells with the chicken and serve at once. If patty shells are not available, serve over cooked rice, toast, or noodles.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: speyerer

                            The recipe says "Serves 6" but calls for only 2 patty shells. Say what?

                          2. Tonight we added more white pepper (this is key in our opinion), a bit of cayenne pepper, onions, garlic and what really made it was the paprika.

                            1. I juice up the chicken stock with "Better Than Boullion" chicken base. The sherry helps too.