A dish that is considered to be "comfort food" is something different in every culture, every household. My mother's kitchen would smell of poppy seed rolls and sorrel borscht in the colder seasons, and this to me became the ultimate comfort food growing up.
Now I am a mother myself, and I'm slowly building my own collection of recipes, tried and true. My hope is that, as my children grow, they will remember meals I served and also think of them as "comfort food, just like Mom's". Any warm thick sauce with a roux-like base, chunky meat and vegetables that I can top a bowl of rice or noodles with I would consider an excellent comfort food. Chicken á la King is an old English favorite adapted now in multiple countries and likely altered many times. I'm sharing my version today, and I hope you'll give it a try. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve with a side of crisp ciabatta. Enjoy.
Chicken á la King
4 cups shredded roasted or poached chicken
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2 shallots, minced
1 cup sweet bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup carrot, julienned
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream)
3 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 Tbsp freshly chopped oregano
1 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
1/2 Bunch thinly sliced green onion to garnish
1. Place 6 tablespoons butter into a large, heavy bottomed pot on a medium-high heat. When butter has melted, add the 1/2 pound of mushrooms and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
2. Add 2 minced shallots and sauté another 3 minutes until softened.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add in 1/2 cup flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, just for the raw flour flavor to cook out. The pot will be quite dry at this point. Add 1 cup julienned carrots and 1 cup chopped sweet peppers, stir to coat all vegetables evenly in flour mixture.
3. Raise heat back to medium-high, add 4 cups chicken broth and allow to come to a simmer. Once it comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then add in 4 cups shredded chicken and stir until it is heated through.
4. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, cayenne, and stir. Taste the sauce, add spices as per preference.
5. Turn off the heat. Add in 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, and 1/3 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream). Stir until mixed through.
6. Serve over potatoes, rice or pasta, and top with freshly sliced green onion.