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Recently we ran across a recipe from Chef Paul Prudhomme's "Seasoned America" (William Morrow, 1991). Think old-fashioned chicken a la king jazzed up New Orleans-style with a fabulous spice blend. We love Prudhomme's recipes because of his bold flavors, but times and metabolisms have changed. We can't afford all that fat!

So we headed to the kitchen for a complete remake. Chicken broth and half-and-half replace the heavy whipping cream, and we serve the creamy chicken over rice instead of puff pastry.

The flavor's still there, but each serving is now missing a whopping 56 grams of fat.


1can (14 1/2 ounces) fat-free chicken broth, divided use

1cup water

1cup long-grain (20-minute) rice

3boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves, about 1 pound, fresh or frozen

1teaspoon olive oil

1medium onion (for 3/4 cup chopped)

1package (8 ounces) already-sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup dry sherry (not cooking sherry)

1large yellow or red bell pepper

1teaspoon EACH dried basil and onion powder

1/2 teaspoon EACH dry mustard, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup half-and-half

Salt to taste
Bring 1 cup of the chicken broth and 1 cup water to a boil over high heat, covered, in a 2-quart saucepan. Reserve the remaining chicken broth. Add the rice, cover, reduce the heat to simmer and cook, covered, 17 minutes.

While the rice cooks, if the chicken is frozen, run it under hot water so you can remove any packaging. Place the breast halves on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 2 minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting.

While the chicken defrosts, heat the oil in a 12-inch, extra-deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the pan as you chop. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir from time to time.

Cut the chicken into bite-size (about 1-inch) cubes. Add the chicken and the sherry to the pan. Rinse and seed the bell pepper. Cut it into bite-size pieces. Add them to the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high. While the chicken cooks, add the basil, onion powder, mustard, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, just until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. In a small jar that has a lid, combine the flour with 1/4 cup of the chicken broth. Reserve the remaining chicken broth. Shake well to remove any lumps and set aside.

When the chicken has cooked, add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth and half-and-half to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir well. Shake the flour-broth mixture again and add it to the pan. Stir well to combine, and continue to stir until the mixture thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Season with salt to taste. Serve over hot rice. Serves 4.

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