Chicken à la king is said to have first been spotted in late-1800s New York at either the Brighton Beach Hotel or Delmonico’s Restaurant in the city. Like many old-timey recipes, its origins are murky. This version sticks to the classic preparation: a savory mushroom cream sauce finished with sherry, then mixed with chicken and peas. Serve over thick-sliced garlic toast, noodles, or in puff-pastry shells.
Game plan: To shave about 45 minutes off this recipe, you could substitute 4 cups of shredded meat from a whole rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings (about 6 cups)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 2 hrs
- 3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts and whole chicken legs (about 2 each), or 4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 5 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
- 2 medium shallots
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas (about 4 1/2 ounces, thawed if frozen)
- 1 tablespoon dry or amontillado sherry
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rub the chicken on both sides with the olive oil and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the porcinis in a medium bowl, cover with the boiling water, and let sit for 20 minutes. While the mushrooms soak, finely chop the parsley leaves and tarragon leaves (you will need 1 tablespoon of each) and set aside together in a small bowl. Slice the cremini mushrooms 1/4 inch thick and set aside in a medium bowl. Finely chop the shallots, place in a small bowl, and set aside. Place the chicken broth or stock in a medium bowl and set it aside.
- When the porcini mushrooms are ready, remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and transfer to a cutting board. Coarsely chop and transfer to a small bowl; set aside. Remove 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid (be careful not to include the gritty sediment on the bottom of the bowl) and add it to the chicken stock; set aside. Discard the remaining mushroom liquid.
- When the chicken is ready, transfer it to a cutting board to cool. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the chopped shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the measured salt and pepper and the chopped porcinis and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat the mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the raw taste has cooked out of the flour, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock mixture, whisking out any lumps. Add the milk and cream, increase the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is smooth and thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bone and tear it into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin, cartilage, and fat. Set the meat aside on the cutting board.
- When the mushroom sauce is ready, stir in the chicken, peas, sherry, and chopped tarragon and parsley and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately over rice, pasta, toast, or puff pastry.