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Chicken a la king a prized food memory

Thursday, October 04, 2001

There's more to food than satisfying hunger. Some foods remind us of a special day, a special friend or a special relative. We've all spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing the special dishes that created those memories -- if you have the recipe. If you don't, you can do what Jane Bayhan of Eastmont did -- write to Kitchen Mailbox.


"As a young girl, my aunts would take me to Joseph Horne's Tea Room for lunch. I remember I always ordered the chicken a la king on toast points. Would any one of your readers have the recipe?" asks Jane.

Her request brought this response from Helen Lamison of Carnegie: "This recipe did not come from Horne's Tea Room, but it's very good."

Chicken a la king is a perfect dish for the chilly weather ahead. It's hearty and filling. The rich sauce is made up of small amounts of flavorful spices, earthy mushrooms and green peppers. This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons sherry -- we believe less may be used without taking away from the flavor of the sauce. And we used sherry, not cooking sherry.

Chicken A La King

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced green pepper
4 tablespoons flour
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon diced pimento
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons sherry or less

Melt the butter in a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add mushrooms and green pepper; cook until tender. Blend in flour, salt, celery salt and cayenne pepper.

Stirring constantly, slowly add milk and chicken broth. Cook until sauce is thick and bubbly. Add chicken, parsley and pimento. Simmer for 5 minutes. While stirring the sauce, add the egg yolks and sherry. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately over toasted bread or pastry shells. To reheat, place chicken a la king over pan of boiling water.


Kathy Engel of Mt. Lebanon writes:

"I hope you can help. I know I should have done this sooner, but the summer just sped away! We enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Top of the Triangle in June. We had a delicious buffet of Cuban/Latin American food. One of the items that particularly impressed us was something called jicama slaw or salad. It had shredded jicama and a tart vinegar dressing along with herbs and vegetables. It was the absolutely perfect condiment for the meal that was served. I realize it's closing soon, but would it be possible to get the recipe?"

Editor's note: The restaurant served its last meal Saturday, but maybe some reader has a perky recipe for a jicama slaw?

According to Sally Batko of Bloomfield: "The Food Gallery's deli made the most wonderful macaroni and cheese. Did they leave the recipe to Giant Eagle when they decided to close? If not, is there someone who knows that recipe? It was the richest and most fattening macaroni and cheese, but it tasted terrific."

Here's an interesting request from Lucille Pekarek of Plum: "I was wondering if anyone knew of this recipe. I was in Utica, N.Y., and had a cold pizza called tomato pie. It was a crust with maybe olive oil and spices, with sliced tomatoes, baked and served cold. No cheese."


"I went to the international food fair in McKeesport. The food was wonderful, especially the Hungarian booth. They sold cheese pockets and a chicken with dumpling and paprika (chicken paprikash). I understand this was a church group that made the food, so if they would part with these recipes, I would be grateful. They should give lessons. I for one would come."

Lynne Petras

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to LINK aburnett@post-gazette.com . Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number.

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