I have to say that this was one of the first dishes I learned to prepare when I was a teenager.
Most of my love for cooking has come from watching the women in my family in the kitchen, mostly my greatgrandmother, grandmother and stepmom. They love cooking and they love preparing dishes for their family, and when I say family I don't mean just a small family of 4 or so, we were a big Portuguese family, sitting around a huge table filled with some of the most delicious food you'll ever taste.
Chicken a la King for me means comfort, means home, means a happy childhood and everytime I eat it, I am immediately taken back in time.
There are quite a few variations and recipes for it, but this is how I learned how to make it, it's simple, it's quick enough to make on a busy weekday and it's very filling.
Chicken a la King
1 lb shredded chicken ( I buy the big bags of Tasty Bird drumsticks or thighs and then shred them)
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
In a big stock pot, fill halfway with water and add the chicken thighs or drumsticks. Boil until chicken is cooked through, once done, remove chicken to a bowl, let cool down and then shred. Don't throw out the stock, we'll be using it.
Now I like serving my chicken a la king with rice, so in a microwave rice cooker, I add 3 cups of the chicken stock, a little bit of salt and 1 1/2 cups of rice. Cook it on HIGH for 6 minutes, then cook for another 15 minutes on MEDIUM. Gives you nice clumpy steamed rice.
Back to the chicken. In a cast iron pan or a skillet (I prefer my cast iron though), add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom. Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring frequently until onion is transparent, using a ladle, add a little of the stock and stir well.
Add the rest of the veggies....the mushrooms, green pepper and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and the bay leaf, stir well and add a little more chicken stock. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the veggies are cooked, remember to keep checking and adding a little stock at a time, you don't want it to burn and you don't want it to dry out either.
Once the veggies are done, add the shredded chicken.
Cook for another 5 minutes, then add about 2 cups of heavy cream, turn the heat down and simmer for just a few minutes for it to thicken.
I like making mine a little thicker, so I save a bit of the heavy cream, pour it into a small bowl, add about a tablespoon or 2 of flour, whisk well then add to the pot and stir well until it's as thick as I want it.
Remove the bay leave and serve over the rice. Enjoy!