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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Paleo Chicken a la King


If I had to describe Chicken a la King in one word, it would be 'yum.' I've always had a fondness for this dish. My mom used to make it quite a bit while I was growing up. I loved it. She made her version with mushrooms, green peppers, chicken and pimentos, but the sauce was made with Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup. I won't touch that stuff with a ten-foot pole. They don't even list the ingredients on their website. You know why? It's not real food! Who would buy it if they actually read and understood the label? Yuck!

I was talking to my mom on the phone last week and mentioned I was in the mood for Chicken a la King. I asked her how she made hers. I then started thinking about how I could convert the sauce to Paleo. Hmm... creamy chicken-y sauce. I know. I can use cashews + chicken broth so I get that creamy and chicken-y flavor. To thicken it, add a little arrowroot. It worked like charm! Arrowroot is magical! I am super excited that this recipe turned out so amazing on the first attempt. I love it.

This dish is quite heavy though. It's very rich, so a little goes a long way. As I was eating the leftovers for lunch today, I realized I shouldn't have packed as much as I did. Oops. I ate it anyway, because it was that delicious. Plus, I needed refueling for my bike ride home from work. I do recommend serving this over your favorite Paleo bread (this one from The Paleo Mom or this one from Against All Grain), favorite biscuits (these from Real Sustenance), cauliflower 'rice' or grain-free pasta (Cappello's fettuccine). I know, I know. Pasta, biscuits, bread. You shouldn't be Paleoizing SAD foods. I believe in treating yourself. I made The Paleo Mom's yeast bread last weekend and it was amazing. Do I want to eat it all the time? No way. It's a great treat though. Will I eat Cappello's pasta all the time? No. I can't afford to + I don't need nor want pasta regularly. Please note there's a small amount of potato starch in Cappello's pasta, so if you are strict Paleo, you may want to give Kelp noodles or zucchini 'noodles' a try for this dish.

Without further ado...


Paleo Chicken a la King
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
4 T. coconut oil, divided
1 ½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 small green bell peppers or 1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 – 4 oz. jars of pimentos, drained
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 6 hours
1 cup fresh water
1 ½ - 2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1 ½ T. arrowroot powder
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
  1. Melt 2 T. coconut oil in a large skillet (with tall sides) over medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced chicken. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes and flip. Continue cooking until no longer pink. Remove chicken and juices from pan and reserve for later.
  3. While chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Drain and rinse the raw cashews. Add to blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix), along with fresh water and chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Add arrowroot, sea salt and pepper and blend again until everything is incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Melt remaining 2 T. coconut oil in the skillet.
  5. Add green peppers and mushrooms. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and bell peppers are slightly soft. It’ll take 6-8 minutes. 
  6. Add the cashew-chicken broth sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine. The sauce will thicken as it heats.
  7. Add chicken back to the skillet and mix together.
  8. Finally, add the pimentos and give everything a quick stir.
  9. Serve over your favorite Paleo bread, cauliflower rice or Paleo pasta (as mentioned above). 


Chicken a la King smothering a slice of Paleo bread.

This really hit the spot. It reminded me of what my mom used to make. Childhood memories + yummy food = totally satisfied and missing my family. Luckily I get to see than in a little over a month! 

Question of the day: what dishes or foods remind you of your family? 


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