Monday, May 21, 2018

A Royal Recipe to Feed a Crowd: Chicken a la King

I made Chicken a la King for dinner this weekend, inspired by the Royal Wedding of course!  You all think Prince Harry was telling Meghan that she looked amazing, but what you don't know is that he really said "Colleen's Chicken a la King is amazing" which was kind of awkward, so the media portrayed this instead.

It's a real crowd pleaser in our house, I have always loved it and even chose it as my bridal shower lunch way back when.  I have  had requests to share some big family meals that everybody likes, are healthy-ish, and won't break the bank.  This is a good one!  I usually start making it the day before I plan to serve it, because I cook the chickens, but you can always just use a rotisserie chicken or quickly cook some chicken breasts - it's super adaptable!  This is less of a "recipe" and more of a "suggestion" because I never measure or make it the exact same way. Just read through it and you'll get the general idea of what to do!  Here goes:

Buy a huge chicken or two smaller ones (remember this feeds a crowd! and leftovers are delicious!) and cook in the crockpot for 8-10 hours on low.  I always chop up some celery, carrots and onions to layer on the bottom, then I rinse the bird(s) and remove that gross chicken bag of insides, lay the chicken(s) on top of the veggies and sprinkle with seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, whatever).  No need to add any liquid, just cook all day.  When the chickens are done, hire someone to remove all the meat from the bones, or do it yourself if you find it oddly relaxing.  Pull into big pieces or cut into big chunks and put all that beautiful chicken meat aside.  Put all the chicken bones and veggies back into crockpot (or instant pot for a quicker method) and make homemade chicken broth for the next time you make this dish.  

In a large (the biggest you have!) pot, melt one stick of butter and then add half cup of flour and whisk until cooked (bubbly).  Congrats, you just made a roux :)  Add maybe 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of whole milk and keep stirring until warm and thickened.  Season with onion powder (my kids won't eat onions), garlic powder, salt and pepper.  

Add a big bag of frozen veggies (we do a mix of  corn, carrots, green beans and peas) that you have already cooked.  If you add them frozen, they will remain tough to chew.  Then add in the pulled/chopped chicken you had reserved from before.  

Now it's time to add the secret ingredient - Sherry!  I pour about a cup into the pot, stir it all up and let simmer for a while until warm.  Here you can decide to either thin out the sauce with more chicken broth or milk, or thicken it by making a cornstarch/milk blend and adding it.  We like ours about as thick as gravy.  You don't want it to cook too long in the pot because then the chicken ends up sort of being shredded and chunks are better.  

Serve over homemade biscuits from this cookbook if you have a husband who can bake like a champ, or quickly bake some canned biscuits, or even use english muffins or toast.  It's delicious on anything!  Or nothing at all! 

I should have taken a picture of the finished dish, but we were all starving after a long day at the kids' track meet and gobbled it up too fast :)  Make this dish and you're guaranteed a thank you like this:

He was licking the chicken a la king off his lips ;)

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