Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chicken Fit for a ... Bill

You know Glamour magazine's Engagement Chicken? The simple roast chicken recipe that women claim they made shortly before their boyfriends proposed? Well I never bought it. I assumed those stories were either big, fat coincidences or flat-out lies. Sure, the average guy would tell you he'd like his future wife to be a good cook. But I've always doubted that a single good meal would make their decision.

Until I made this Chicken a la King for Bill on Monday night. I swear that if we weren't already married, we'd have been marching down the aisle immediately following this meal. His reaction was that strong. He hasn't stopped talking about it since. He even called by mother to rave about it. Seriously!

Naturally, it's another recipe from America's Test Kitchen ... and that's typically a guaranteed win. I can't quite put my finger on what made this dish so amazing. It could have been the juiciness of the chicken, assisted by the brine-like marinade. Or it could have been the richness of the sauce, made all the more so by the marsala wine. Or maybe it was the perfectly toasted sourdough slices ... straight from San Francisco! (That's right, I have a very expensive habit of ordering Boudin sourdough bread online. It's one of the things that makes me most homesick.)

Whatever it was, the Test Kitchen definitely did this retro-inspired dish justice, without the aid of condensed soup!

Chicken a la King
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup marsala wine
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
6 slices Italian or sourdough bread, buttered and toasted (see below)

Whisk 1/2 cup cream, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onion until golden, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell peppers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper and cook until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add marsala, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Add broth and remaining cream and cook until sauce is very thick and spatula leaves trail when dragged through sauce, about 5 minutes.

Stir in chicken mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Serve over toasted bread.

Toasted Bread
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter both sides of 6, 1-inch thick slices of bread and arrange on baking sheet. Toast until bread is golden brown, about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking.


  1. That is an unbearably cute story. I think it's better than the Engagement Chicken ones ;p

    I definitely do not think you're crazy for sending away for sourdough... I would too if I couldn't get it easily! Now that I'm here, I take it for granted, but I guarantee you the moment the moving van is packed up, I'm gonna start wanting it!

  2. Really, anyone who has ever experienced Boudin sourdough couldn't blame me for craving it so badly. I also always leave room for it in my luggage when I make a trip home. I have to bring at least two loaves back with me every time, and those are just for me. I usually get requests from my friends and coworkers for more! I wish it wasn't so expensive to ship!

  3. Aw, what a sweet story and a fantastic looking recipe. I'm glad Bill appreciates your efforts in the kitchen.

  4. This dish was so delicious I can not explain it. I wanted to dip my head in it, it was so good!