A Fancy Version Of Turkey a la King!
Chicken a la King was created by a cook named William King over 100 years ago at the famous Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Chicken a la King originally was a classy fine dining recipe. The combination of ingredients yielded such a tasty flavor that this entrée became popular in all wakes of life.
Unfortunately, Chicken a la King has for the most part has disappeared from fine dining restaurant circles. During the last 50 years, this classic entrée has been resigned to being offered mostly at greasy spoon diners and institutional food facilities. As expected, Chicken a la King that is served at a school cafeteria is not exactly going to be a gourmet item. Even so, because the combination of ingredients is so well thought out, even a Chicken a la King that is made in a correctional facility will be palatable.
Because the basic list of ingredients for Chicken a la King work so well together, it is very easy for a chef to modify the recipe to create a new gourmet version. Today's Sour Mash Bourbon Turkey a la King en Phyllo with Hickory Smoked Linguica and Roasted Scallion Threads is a good example of jazzing the old original recipe up with a classic Americana Cuisine theme in mind.
Turkey a la King is the most popular variation of the original recipe and using turkey automatically inspires following a classic American cuisine path. Turkey a la King is also perfect for using up leftover roast turkey from Thanksgiving.
Good old Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon replaces the Dry Vermouth in today's recipe. Bourbon adds a rich comfortable flavor to the sauce and it marries with the rustic taste of Hickory Smoked Portuguese Linguica Sausage.
Portuguese Linguica is highly seasoned like Cajun Andouille, but the choice of ground chile pepper is a combination of robust tasting Paprika Chiles. Portuguese Linguica is not a Chorizo, but it is similar. If no Hickory Smoked Linguica is available, then any highly seasoned hickory smoked sausage is a good second choice.
There are no Peas in today's modern Turkey a la King version, but you can add peas if you wish to. Sweet Peas were usually an optional ingredient anyway.
Roasted red bell pepper adds a richer flavor than plain red bell pepper. Portobello field mushrooms are richer tasting than cave button mushrooms. Adding a few drops of truffle oil can really enhance the mushroom flavor in the cream sauce. Crème Fraîche enriched béchamel tastes richer than plain milk gravy. Roasted scallions add a unique rustic flavor.
As one can see, today's recipe is not your average high school cafeteria Turkey a la King, so it deserves an eye catching plate presentation. Why not go with a starch that adds an interesting texture? Phyllo Dough Sheets can be purchased pre-made and frozen at most grocery stores. They are easy to work with, but they always must be kept covered with a towel or they will dry out. An ordinary oven proof soup bowl was inverted and used as a shaping mold to drape the butter sheets of phyllo. A Phyllo Bowl is easy to make and it looks impressive when presented!
Phyllo Bowl Garnish:
This recipe yields 1 large Phyllo Bowl.
Step 1: Cut 10 squares of phyllo dough sheets, so they measure 10" x 10."
Keep the phyllo sheets covered with a dry towel, so they do not dry out.
Step 2: Place a round soup bowl or small mixing bowl (about a 2 1/2 cup capacity bowl) upside down on a baking pan.
Brush both sides of 1 phyllo sheet with melted unsalted butter.
Drape the sheet over the soup bowl dome.
Work with one phyllo sheet at a time till all 10 sheets are draped over the bowl. Try to leave the edges uneven, to create a nice visual effect.
Step 3: Bake the phyllo in a 350ºF oven, till it becomes a crispy golden color.
Step 4: Allow the phyllo, the baking pan and the bowl to cool to room temperature.
*This next step is a bit tricky to do. The object is to minimize damage to the crisp phyllo bowl!
Place a shallow wide stew bowl over the top of the phyllo bowl on the baking pan.
Invert the shallow stew bowl, baking pan and the crisp phyllo covered bowl as altogether at one time.
Remove the baking pan.
Use thin tongs to grasp the soup bowl mold, while gently prying off the crisp phyllo bowl.
*The phyllo bowl will now be setting in the shallow stew bowl and it is now ready to be filled with Turkey a la King. If any phyllo leaves break off, then do not worry about it. Just piece them around the base of the phyllo bowl, so it looks nice.
Set the stew bowl with the phyllo bowl lining aside where is will not be damaged.
Roasted Scallion Thread Garnish:
There is a difference between a scallion and a green onion. The flavor of a scallion is much richer. Scallion are almost never sold in markets, so green onions are a good substitute. Scallions have a short shelf life and they are usually sold as a garden fresh item by an herb purveyor.
Place 1 thin julienne sliced green onion on a baking pan.
Drizzle a little bit of melted unsalted butter over the green onion threads.
Roast in a 350ºF oven, till the green onion threads become crisp and turn a caramelized brown color.
Set the roasted green onion threads aside.
Sour Mash Bourbon Turkey a la King with Hickory Smoked Linguica:
This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
This recipe is made with oven roasted turkey breast. Leftover roast turkey from Thanksgiving is the best choice, but if none is available then slow roasting a whole turkey breast is a good option.
The roasted turkey is added late in the recipe, because roasted turkey has a tendency to shred, when it is simmered in a sauce.
If you want to add the optional peas to this recipe, then add 1/4 cup of sweet peas at the same time that the turkey is added.
Step 1: Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Add 2 tablespoons of diced onion.
Add 1/3 cup of large diced green bell pepper.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced celery.
Add 1 chopped green onion.
Add 3 to 4 small portobello mushrooms that are cut into quarters.
Sauté till the vegetables are tender.
Step 2: Add just enough flour, while constantly stirring to soak up the excess butter in the pot and to create a roux. (about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons)
Stir for about 1 minute, so the roux is combined.
Step 3: Add 1/2 cup of turkey broth or chicken stock.
Add 1/3 cup of Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon.
Add 1/3 cup of milk.
Add 1/2 cup of cream.
Stir till the sauce comes to a gentle boil. (The sauce will thicken to a very thin soupy consistency.)
Step 4: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 1/4 cup of sour cream while stirring.
Step 5: Add 3 ounces of Hickory Smoked Portuguese Linguica Sausage that cut into thick half moon shapes.
Add 3 tablespoons of large diced roasted red bell pepper.
Add 1/2 of a bay leaf.
Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
Add 1 small pinch of marjoram.
Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of black truffle oil. (optional)
Step 6: Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a thin sauce consistency.
Step 7: Add 5 ounces of roasted turkey breast that is cut into large bite size pieces.
Simmer till the turkey is hot and the sauce becomes a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.
Keep the Turkey a la King warm over very low heat.
Sour Mash Bourbon Turkey a la King en Phyllo with Hickory Smoked Linguica and Roasted Scallion Threads:
This recipe describes 1 plate presentation.
Place the crisp phyllo bowl lined shallow stew bowl on a countertop.
Gently spoon the Sour Mash Bourbon Turkey a la King with Hickory Smoked Linguica into the phyllo bowl that is setting in the shallow stew bowl.
*If too much is placed in the crisp phyllo bowl at one time, then the phyllo will break.
Garnish with the roasted scallion threads.
Viola! A classy looking American style Turkey a la King that tastes great!