This is one of my favorite things to do with leftover chicken or turkey. It takes only a few minutes to put together, (despite the apparently long list of ingredients), simmers off nearly unattended, and the result is pure lusciousness.
Chicken (or turkey) a la king is often served as a dressed up meal, although it doesn’t have to be reserved for a formal occasion. Sure – dress it up if you wish – but I love this one as much for a go-to family meal as anything else. This is also one of the most adaptable recipes I know – feel perfectly free to make substitutions at will. Change out the mushrooms for anything you have – my favorite is criminis or brown mushrooms, but I’ll use whatever I have.
There are a couple of easy omissions as well – if you don’t have good sherry – the real, honest to goodness thing, then please don’t use that stuff off the shelf at the grocery. It’s just nasty. Feel free to skip it if you’re feeding kids – most of the alcohol burns off, but not all of it. If you don’t have fresh nutmeg, don’t worry about it. The fresh is yummy, the ground stuff just isn’t. And change out whatever you’d like to serve it over – I love puff pastry shells when I have them, but cut sheets into squares and it works just as well. Or use toast points, or biscuits, or rice or noodles…
See why I love the adaptability of this one? Because on top of everything else, the result is a beautifully creamy, silky chicken dish that epitomizes comfort food. Give it a shot and you’ll be hooked as well.
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced, button, brown, crimini or shiitake
1/2 cup cream
4 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cubed
Fresh chives, minced to garnish
1 jar pimientos, drained (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the shallots or onion until fragrant and becoming translucent – about five minutes or so.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter/shallot mixture and whisk well until the flour is fully incorporated. Add the sherry if using, and the broth, whisking constantly, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Add the sprigs of parsley and thyme, and cook the sauce for about half an hour, stirring frequently. Don’t let it boil too hard or it will scorch.
While the sauce simmers, in a medium skillet over medium high, melt the remaining butter. Add mushrooms and sauté until they are golden brown, about 6-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Carefully add the sauce to the mushrooms, and add the cayenne and nutmeg. Add cooked turkey or chicken, and taste. Re-season for salt and pepper if need be. Stir well to combine.
Gently stir in the cream, bringing the temperature up but making sure not to allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat and add remaining fresh parsley and optional pimientos. Serve over your choice of pastry or toast points, and garnish with a little fresh minced chives.