Chicken a la King has tender chunks of chicken, mushrooms, and vegetables in a rich and creamy sauce, served in a puff pasty shell.

Today’s recipe is sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East. All opinions are 100% mine.

Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King is one of those delicious comfort food classics that reminds me of my childhood. It’s exactly the type of meal my parents often served – wholesome, hearty, easy, creamy, delicious – and a great way to feed a hungry crowd. (After all, I was one of six kids in the family!)

It’s the same for my husband Jack.  But he also recalls learning how to make Chicken a la King during a commercial foods cooking course he took back in high school. (He was a great cook even back then – and won an award for making the best version Chicken a la King in class!)

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Chicken a la King

Fast forward to today, and Chicken a la King is still a dish that everyone loves.

How do you make Chicken a la King?

Tender chunks of cooked chicken are combined in a creamy béchamel sauce with mushrooms, leeks, and onions, and seasoned with salt and pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard, plus a splash of sherry. Green peas and chopped pimentos are also added.

Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King is traditionally served in puff pastry cups, although serving it with a simple homemade biscuit is equally delicious.

Our recipe below also includes instructions for roasting a whole chicken first – then using the cooked chicken in your a la king sauce. But – if you want to save some time – feel free to buy a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead.

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Chicken a la King

New York Dairy Tour

There’s nothing better than feeding wholesome, delicious foods to your family – and have you noticed that many of the very best recipes include dairy ingredients? It’s true! Milk, butter, cream, and cheese are part of all of the things I love to eat (including this Chicken a la King)!

Earlier this month, I had the huge pleasure of joining the American Dairy Association North East, plus a group of other food bloggers and nutritionists on an immersive tour of the Finger Lakes region of New York state.

Chicken a la King - #NYDairyTour18

During our three-day tour, we were hosted by dairy farmers, cheesemakers, distilleries, cooking schools, and restaurants – learning about the farm-to-table process that goes into producing and enjoying our favorite dairy foods. (I also got to hug this cute cow named Cheddar!)

Chicken a la King - #NYDairyTour18

Dairy farmers work long, hard hours taking care of their cows. Happy, healthy cows produce quality milk, and the health and well-being of their animals is number one priority.

Chicken a la King - #NYDairyTour18

Plus, dairy farmers today are environmental stewards – preserving and maintaining farmland in the region, as well as implementing sustainable innovations that not only benefit their herds, but also the environment.

Chicken a la King - #NYDairyTour18

You can learn more at the American Dairy Association’s website.

And now…that delicious Chicken a la King recipe – made with fresh, delicious dairy!

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Chicken a la King

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Chicken a la King

Chicken a la King

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 8 - 12 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Method: roast, stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cooking time listed assumes you will be roasting chicken from scratch.


Ingredients

5 cups cooked* chicken meat (use already cooked rotisserie chicken, or if roasting the chicken from scratch, buy ingredients below)

*If cooking a chicken from scratch

1 4-5 pound whole chicken with neck

2 carrots coarsely cut up

1 onion peeled and quartered

2 stalks celery coarsely cut up

2 cloves garlic crushed

½ bunch fresh parsley

2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

For the ‘a la King’

2 boxes frozen puff pastry shells (6 per box)

2 cups dried sliced mushrooms such as Shiitake or Cremini (now carried in most supermarkets or you can order online here)

2 cups boiling water

1 8-ounce package fresh mushrooms such as white button or Cremini, sliced

10 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup onion, diced

1 ½ cups leeks, diced (whites only, cleaned of sand)

½ cup dry sherry

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 pint heavy cream (2 cups), heated

1 pint whole milk (2 cups), heated

2 egg yolks

12 teaspoons kosher salt (start with one then add more at end as needed)

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon dry mustard powder

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 8-ounce jar chopped pimentos, well drained


Instructions

If making the chicken from scratch, place whole chicken in large stock pot along with neck, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook two hours. Strain stock to be frozen or used in other recipes. Pick meat from chicken and discard remaining solids. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate until needed. Should yield about five cups.

If using cooked rotisserie chicken, remove meat from bones and refrigerate until needed.

Bake the pastry shells according to the box directions and set aside. They bake at 425 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. Once cooled, poke out top and discard. Or serve on top after ladling in the finished a la King.

Place two cups of dried mushrooms in a small glass or metal bowl and cover with two cups of boiling water. Cover with plastic and let sit 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. After at least 30 minutes, strain and discard liquid. Once cool enough to handle, grab handfuls of the now reconstituted mushrooms and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside for next step.

In a medium to large Dutch oven or nonstick pot, heat 4 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Once melted, add the squeezed-out sliced dried mushrooms along with sliced fresh mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes until nicely browned but not starting to stick and burn. Remove to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium high and add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and once melted, add the onions and leeks and saute for three minutes.

After three minutes add the sherry and lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Once the liquid has evaporated, lower heat to medium and add the flour and stir to combine. Cook this mixture for three minutes. Whisk in the heated cream and heated milk after the three minutes.

Place the two egg yolks into a medium bowl and slowly whisk in about two cups of the cream mixture, being careful to add slowly. This is called tempering the eggs.

Whisk the tempered eggs back into the mixture. Keep the heat on medium and never let it come to a bubble.

Stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder, peas and pimentos along with the cooked chicken and cooked mushrooms.

Stir and once hot, remove from heat and taste. At this point, add more salt if needed.

Serve in and over the baked pastry shells.


Keywords: chicken a la king

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    Comments

  • Charlotte Stanulis wrote:

    Can this be made ahead and reheated just before serving?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Charlotte – Yes, this recipe reheats nicely in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  • Bonnie M Welter wrote:

    Tried this last weekend and it was by far the best chicken a la king I ever had!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Bonnie!

  • Stevan Hall wrote:

    Aside from salad, what are some dishes that would accompany this Chicken a la King recipe to make a well rounded out dinner that is both elegant as well as comforting? Color and appeal is what I am looking for.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Stevan – Aside from a salad, we’d probably serve it with green beans or broccoli – simply prepped (steamed, etc) since the star of the meal is really the Chicken a la King. Hope that helps!

  • Tennie Skladanowski wrote:

    I made this for dinner club last weekend.. It was delicious. I used dried mushrooms in addition to fresh but next time I will just use a mixture of all fresh
    I used a package of Costco’s already pulled rotisserie chicken breast which made it extra easy. What is purpose of saving a cup of ,, strained mushroom broth as recipe directs,?

    • Jack wrote:

      Tennie, this is Jack. I went back through my hand written notes on this. Looks like I reserved a cup of the mushroom liquid with the intent to use it later to thin down the sauce if it was too thick. The finished dish came out as I wanted and I never used the reserved liquid but I forgot to remove that step. I’ll edit the recipe and remove it. Thanks for noticing and commenting.
      Jack

  • Janice Caretta wrote:

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I do remember having chicken a la king as a child. I am preparing a menu for 80 – 100 people and would like to serve this. Can you help me with amounts of ingredients I would need? I think all would greatly enjoy this recipe. Thanks. Jan

    • Jack wrote:

      Janice, this is Jack. Assume if you are cooking for 80-100 that you have access to commercial size quantities like 10 pound boxes of cooked chicken, large boxes puff pastry, etc.
      Puff pastry = equivalent size boxes for total piece count of 80-100
      Dry mushrooms = 5 quarts
      Water = 5 quarts
      Fresh mushrooms = 14 pounds
      Butter = 3 1/2 pounds divided 1 1/2 pounds for mushrooms and 2 pounds for onions and leeks
      onion diced = 10 pounds
      Leeks diced = 15 pounds
      Sherry = 1 quart plus 2/3 cup
      Lemon juice = 1 3/4 cup
      flour = 2 1/2 cups
      Heavy cream = 5 quarts
      Whole milk = 5 quarts
      egg yolks = 20
      Kosher salt = less than 5 tablespoons (start with less and add as needed)
      White pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder = start with less than 2 tablespoons and add more as needed
      10 pounds frozen peas
      5 cups chopped pimentos (no liquid)

      Brings back memories…Good luck!

  • Jeanne wrote:

    I made your Chicken a la King recipe and it was absolutely devine! The dry sherry, splash of fresh lemon juice, nutmeg and dry mustard really added so much depth of flavor! This is a true winner. Made it to my “Top Secret” recipe box….. even though I’m a firm believer in sharing recipes and always share when asked. Thank you for sharing this one!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Jeanne! (Your secret is safe with us…) 😉

  • Anne Barbara wrote:

    Yum, a la king has come a long way since Mom served it to nine kids over toast!
    Putting it in a puff pastry shell makes it really posh. No wonder Jack won a prize in school for it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Anne! 🙂

  • Lisa R. wrote:

    I can’t rate stars yet, since I haven’t made it yet, but it looks easy enough & delicious! Thanx for sharing the pics from your farm visit. Cheddar is a cutie. 🙂 Ya’ll truly have the best comfort foods, which are my favorite meals!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Lisa! We hope you love the recipe! 🙂

  • Patricia wrote:

    I have not been able to find pastry shells in our supermarket, can you suggest something else to serve this mixture over?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Patricia – We’ve been able to find the Pepperidge Farm version in the freezer section of our supermarket, but sometimes I’ve seen some already baked versions (not frozen) in packages in the bakery section too. But if you can’t find then, this recipe is great served over biscuits, or even eaten just by itself! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Shelby wrote:

    It was great meeting you on the tour! This recipe looks so delicious and comforting! We love creamy meals like this on special occasions.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Shelby! So nice to meet you too!

  • MIMI B wrote:

    HI! I’D LOVE TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, BUT IN A SMALLER QUANTITY. CAN THIS RECIPE BE HALVED WITHOUT CHANGING THE RATIO OF INGREDIENTS? THANKS AND BON APPETIT!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mimi – Yes – just cut the ingredient quantities in half. Hope you love it!

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