Quick & Comforting Chicken à la King

updated Sep 6, 2019
Chicken à la King

In this comforting classic, golden brown bites of tender chicken are nestled in a sherry-spiked sauce with savory sautéed mushrooms and colorful peppers.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Christine Buckley

It’s time to add some flair to your weeknight chicken routine. Golden-brown bites of tender chicken are nestled in a sherry-spiked sauce with savory sautéed mushrooms and colorful peppers. It’s a meal fit for royalty, but you won’t need a kitchen full of cooks to get dinner on the table.

What Is Chicken à la King?

History dates this dish of chicken in creamy fortified wine sauce to the late 19th or early 20th century, and it may have actually had a stronger connection to the owner of a hotel than nobility. As decades passed, the homemade cream sauce was often replaced with a can of condensed soup.

But settling for a canned cream sauce is not the only way to make Chicken à la King a weeknight winner. Instead, brown quick-cooking bite-sized pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and choose a bag of frozen pepper stir-fry mix — which needs no knife work and thaws in mere minutes in a skillet — rather than fresh bell peppers and onions. Still pressed for time? Substitute cubed rotisserie chicken and start the recipe at the step of sautéing the mushrooms.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Christine Buckley

If you’ve ever made gravy or homemade mac and cheese, you already know the basics of making a cream sauce. Sprinkle some flour over the buttery browned mushrooms and peppers and cook to remove the raw taste — it only takes a minute. Heavy cream gives the sauce a rich, velvety texture while sherry — a fortified wine — adds an elegant flavor to the sauce. Make sure to serve the dish over egg noodles, rice, or biscuits to soak up the deliciously creamy sauce.

Chicken à la King

In this comforting classic, golden brown bites of tender chicken are nestled in a sherry-spiked sauce with savory sautéed mushrooms and colorful peppers.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    cremini mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 cups

    frozen sliced bell peppers and onions

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup

    half-and-half or whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon

    medium dry sherry

  • Cooked biscuits, rice, or egg noodles, for serving

Instructions

  1. Quarter 8 ounces cremini mushrooms and finely chop 2 tablespoons parsley leaves; set both aside. Cut 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch or larger skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, add the chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

  3. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and slightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 2 cups frozen sliced bell peppers and onions, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are thawed and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour over the vegetables, stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk and 1 tablespoon sherry until smooth and no lumps of flour remain. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Serve over biscuits, rice, or egg noodles and sprinkle with the parsley.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.