Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vegetable A La King:

Save A Chicken, Eat a Vegetable

The other day my wife said she wished I could make a vegetarian Chicken a la King. A little light went on in my head and I thought to myself: Challenge accepted!

"Blank" a la King is one the ultimate comfort foods. Served over noodles, rice or a variety of bread types, it's a creamy and savory delight with chunks of whatever kind of goodness you can imagine mixed in. In this case, those chunks of goodness are veggies. 

My wife and I used to eat one we'd buy out of the can years ago. I want to say it was from Swanson's or Campbell's or something like that. Back when we first met, we were still very young and would eat pretty much anything. It didn't matter if it came from a can or out of box. If it was tasty and cheap, we ate it. Looking back to those days of yore, I have to smile in the warm memory of our younger more carefree days and then immediately shudder in disgust that we actually ate that shit.

As I've grown older, I've come to realize a few things. First of all, it's no secret that canned and boxed foods are usually highly processed and will kill you. In fact, according to a recent study, even breathing causes cancer. So if any of you hope to live until tomorrow, you need to quit breathing posthaste!! 

Secondly, I love to cook, especially from scratch. I don't always have the time to it but I do it as much as I can. Standing in a kitchen on my day off with groceries spread around, a 10" Henckel in my hand, and something simmering on the stovetop is one of the most relaxing places I can think of. I can just let my mind flow in a "Let go Luke, use the Force" kinda way to create something wonderful. Then when it's all done, you get to eat it. And if you're truly lucky, you have the sheer pleasure of sharing it with friends and family. You get to hear them tell you how awesome it was. And then your ego can get all super big because none of them can cook as good as you. And then you can stand on your pedestal and look down at all the lame little people who don't posses and never will posses your brilliant culinary chops. Whoa!! That got a little out of hand. But anyone who's ever worked in a professional kitchen is probably chuckling right now because that really happens.

Taking those two realizations and putting them together actually works out quite well. I can still eat some of my favorite foods and not have to get it from a can thereby avoiding most of the unnecessary chemical-based gobbledy-gook that comes mixed in with our alleged "food".

Am I saying this recipe is the ultimate in healthy just because I make it from scratch? Nope. It's still fattening. But as I said before, it's a comfort food. And even though it's still fattening, it's healthier and definitely tastier than the canned version. Trust me, you'll thank me from the top of your pedestal. Enjoy!! 

Vegetable a la King


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (one and a half sticks), divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley 
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cups peas
  • 4 oz. jar pimentos
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Your choice of starch: rice, egg noodles, biscuits, puff pastry shells, toast points. 


    1. In a dutch oven or heavy pot, melt 1/2 cup (one stick) of the butter over a medium high heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.  

    2. Add in 1 cup one the vegetable broth and whisk to combine all together. Once combined, add in the remaining broth and the cream. Now add the bouillon, parsley sprigs, and the thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. 

    3. While the sauce is simmering, melt the remaining 1/4 cup (half stick) of butter in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Once melted, add the carrots, cauliflower and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Now add in the bell pepper and the shallot and continue to saute for another 5-10 minutes until veggies begin to soften. 

    4. Using tongs or a spider, remove the parsley and thyme sprigs from the sauce and discard. 

    5. Add the sauteed veggies to the sauce along with the salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg and continue to cook until veggies reach the desired doneness. 

    6. Serve over your choice of starch. 

    Makes: 6-8 servings

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