20 December 2009
Lighter Chicken a la King
When I was a kid, I loved sleeping over at other people's houses. There was something so exciting about sleeping in another bed and playing video games until the wee hours. However, the one thing I was always leery about was eating someone else's cooking. I was so used to my mom's cooking that sitting down at a different dinner table made me incredibly nervous.
Despite my apprehensive eating tendencies, one night at a friend's house I discovered what I can only describe as both the most disgusting and the tastiest meal ever: Chicken a la King IN A CAN. Yes, a can. Creamy chicken, tender mushrooms, salty and tangy pimentos: I had found my kryptonite.
Years later, I still have a taste for this comfort food now and again, but I tend to not eat meals from a can these days (I'm looking at you, ravioli and spaghetti o's). This lightened version was the answer to my craving, and I have to say it far exceeded my taste memory of its canned counterpart. Served over flaky biscuits or whole wheat egg noodles, I'm in heaven.
Chicken a la King
(Reprinted from Eating Well)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
10 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry sherry, (see Note)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-fat milk
1 4-ounce jar sliced pimientos, rinsed
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1. Toss chicken and flour in a medium bowl until coated. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reserving the remaining flour, add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are softened and starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in sherry; bring to a boil and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, 3 minutes.
3. Whisk broth and milk into the reserved flour until smooth. Stir the mixture into the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in pimientos and the chicken and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in scallions and serve immediately.
Note: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.