Chicken a la King

I remember when I was young how much of a treat it was to have Chicken a la King, only back then it came in a plastic bag at my house.  My mom was a busy person and this was one of the only ways she knew how to feed her growing family.  Recently I have been craving this childhood favorite and with time on my hands I decided to take a stab at it and keep it SIMPLE!  For the chicken, I use 2 pounds for this recipe - if you want you can easily buy one of the 1.25 pound packages, whatever fits your needs.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Madeira
1 onion, minced
1 - 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 red pepper, minced
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 package frozen puff pastry prepared (see note below)

In a 4 qt. sauce pan place chicken, stock, Madeira, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, parsley, pepper & salt.  Bring to boil, place cover on - then reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  This poaches your chicken breasts and cooks the vegetables & herbs in the stock making a more flavorful stock.

Remove chicken breasts and place into a bowl, set aisde to cool.  Place cover back on pot.  Place butter into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and melt in the microwave, then stir in flour until well combined.  Place back in the microwave for 30 seconds to cook flour.  Remove from microwave and add cream and stir to combine with a fork to reduce any lumps.  Pour into pan with stock and vegetable.  Turn heat back on and using a whisk stir until sauce is comes to a boil and begins to thicken.  Season with salt & pepper to taste - then remove from stove.  Sauce will thicken more as it cools.  Shred chicken breasts using a fork and add to sauce mixture.  Stir with a spatula to combine.

Using a fork, split each pasty square in half leaving you with a top and bottom part of the shell.  Place bottom part on the plate and pour roughly 1 cup mixture on top, place top part of pastry over it and pour another cup  mixture over puff pastry square and serve.

NOTE:  To make puff pastry shells, thaw one package frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight.  Open package and remove pastry, separating them.  Unroll each pastry onto a silpat-lined baking sheet and cut into four.  Separate to give them space and allow air to flow around them - they will not expand, they will only rise.  Place in a 400 degree-preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, they can be made a day or two ahead, just keep them in a covered container so they remain crisp.

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