Chicken Shiitake on a Shingle ♯

Those of us who served in the military will recall, with some nostalgia, that dish which the mess cooks called “Chipped Beef on Toast”, or sometimes “Creamed Beef on Toast”. We, in somewhat mocking protest, called it something else, On a Shingle. In classic military fashion, it was known in initialized form simply as SOS.

The fowl version, found in my Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook of 1896, calls it “Chicken à la King”, which is served over rice, pasta, or bread. My recipe, given here, is a version of this preparation, made with my preference in mushrooms, amply in evidence throughout this work, and emphasizing, in military fashion, that it is served on toast.

Let be be noted that the title, which some find humorous, did not dictate the ingredients, but just the opposite. I prepared this dish one evening when I had been lucky enough to find large fresh shiitakes in my supermarket and I wanted to orient my Chicken à la King toward the Southwest, with just a little continental flair. I was so pleased with the result that I scribbled, in usual fashion and sans title, the ingredients onto a piece of note paper and put it in the to-do pile on my desk, upstairs. It sat there for about six months before I translated it into the rendition you see here. It was then that the name struck me.

Even though conceived as a dinner meal, it also makes a wonderful breakfast or lunch.

  • 8 oz chicken thighs, in ½” slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 heaping tsp garlic, chopped
  • ½ carrot, small dice
  • ½ Poblano chile, diced
  • 2 tbsp pimiento or red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can low-fat Cream of Chicken soup
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne chile
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp potato starch (alternately, cornstarch or flour)
  • 1 ½ oz Asiago cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices wheat bread, cut in quarters diagonally

Toast the bread and reserve.

Brown the chicken strips in the olive oil in a medium sized pan over high heat. Add shallots, carrot, and garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until shallot is limp, about two to three minutes. Add chile, peppers, and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mixture is again limp. Add the soup and cayenne, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Mix the white wine and potato starch, pour it into the simmering pot, and stir until thickened. Continue to simmer while stirring until the alcohol evaporates, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the black pepper.

Place the shingle in the middle of a dinner plate, cover it with chicken-shiitake mixture, and sprinkle over the top with Asiago. Serve immediately. Steamed asparagus makes a colorful and tasty accompaniment, as does steamed broccoli; however, neither is necessary, especially if served at breakfast or lunchtime.

Serves 2.