chicken and ham a la king

summary: comfort food: chicken a la king with a biscuit topping with broccoli and leftover oatmeal dressing (stuffing); (click on image for larger view and more photos)

I have been meaning to post about our chicken and ham a la king since late December!

chicken a la king It’s true. We do eat like kings. Or at least I hope for their sake that kings get to eat as well as we do.

One of my favourite Christmas presents this year was a beautiful stoneware gratin dish. I love the red glaze on the outside. But mostly I love it because of its perfect size. It’s exactly right for the two of us. Well, it could be smaller I guess… it does hold enough food to serve four people. But that means there are leftovers for lunch!! And what could be better than that?

We have used it to make the most wonderful scalloped potatoes, cauliflower au gratin and ricotta leek pie. It’s BRILLIANT for the ricotta leek pie; there is no problem with the pastry getting over done on the edges because the sides are straight. (We STILL haven’t used the beautiful blue gratin dish!!)

chicken a la king The other thing that the dish is perfect for is ham and chicken a la king with a biscuit topping. Using leftover chicken from Christmas (we always have 2 chickens rather than turkey at Christmas – I’m not wild about turkey…) and double smoked ham, T made his chicken pie filling adding béchamel (made with milk that had been infused with onion and a bay leaf), peas, carrots, onions, bay leaf and sherried mushrooms. (Red peppers are a nice addition as well, but we’d already used them all to make red pepper pate.)

We had the a la king with steamed broccoli and leftover oatmeal dressing. Mmmm, mmm, mmm!!! Aren’t leftovers wonderful?!

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  • I’m not sure which I like better – the recipe or the gratin dish!

    I did manage to get an oven in our rental house – the small combination micro and convection oven, but it’s of limited use as there is only one baking dish. I’m not going to dig out my dishes to haul over there…. so I complain and am envious, instead.

    Now, why does anything ‘a la king’ get such a bad rap from some people? I love it!

    Our Christmas leftovers got left….

  • ejm

    I didn’t realize that people poopooed chicken a la king, Katie. How could anyone say it was unworthy? It’s SO good. Maybe it’s because it’s not really French? Therefore it can’t possibly be good because it’s fake?? :stomp:

    Apparently there are a number of stories about the possible origin of “a la king”. I like this one:

    excerpt from foodreference.com: à  la King

    Created by Chef George Greenwald, at the Brighten Beach Hotel, New York in either 1898 or ‘the early 1900s. He prepared a special chicken dish one evening for the owners, Mr. & Mrs. E. Clark King II.

    “La” King implies that it must be “Mrs King” that the dish was named after.

    And I know what you mean about being unable to choose which is nicer – the dish or the dish. I find myself going into the kitchen just to look at the dish… and then wondering if maybe it shouldn’t have some chicken a la king in it.

    -Elizabeth

    P.S. I wouldn’t be trying to find any dishes to use in a micro convection oven either. I have NO idea how to use either of those! But wait!! You could do stovetop baking. My sister has baked a cake in her wok. (Actually, so have we, just to see if it was possible and it was! It works amazingly well.)

  • A convection oven simply cooks a bit faster than a conventional oven. You don’t need to “dig out your dishes and haul them over”; you can pick up aluminum dishes anywhere and cook anything.

    I tried using a convection oven when visiting parents-in-law. The instruction booklet introduction SAID the oven was simple and easy to use and would save energy because it used less cooking time. But the rest of the instructions were virtually impossible to read and in the end, it didn’t seem to cook things any faster and actually caused more problems than it was worth. (But that’s probably just me being reactionary.) I suspect that I’d be like Katie and just forget about both picking up aluminum dishes (brrrrr makes my fillings hurt just thinking about it) and using the temporary-house micro convection oven (whatever that is!) -Elizabeth

  • Aaaah, chicken a la king, food of my childhood! I thought this was the most delicious thing in the world for many years, despite the fact that it was always made with rather strident green peppers. These days I make mine with sweet red peppers :) It’s still comfort food at its best.

    Absolutely, Jeanne. I prefer chicken a la king with sweet red peppers too. And ham. I love it when there’s a bit of ham added. The only thing that rivals chicken a la king in the comfort food department is macaroni and cheese (the real thing, not that tastefree junk that comes in a Kraftbox). – Elizabeth