Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #40 - Old Southern Tea Room (Vicksburg, Mississippi)

This week I decided to make a big pot of Chicken a la King after I found a recipe for it in an old Mississippi tea room cookbook. Served with rice and vegetables on one of my old green Depression glass grill plates, I thought this made a nice presentation of an easy fall comfort food!

This 1960 cookbook features recipes from the Old Southern Tea Room, a restaurant in Vicksburg, Mississippi that was praised by the food critic Duncan Hines and newspapers including the Minneapolis Star and the Chicago Sunday Tribune. (Caution for fellow tea room cookbook collectors: The book was illustrated in, shall we say, less enlightened times, so line drawings such as the "happy Mammie" images may offend some. I don't like the images, but I think tea room history is worth preserving in all its forms, and so this book is a part of that.)

The recipe I made this week is called Aunt Carrie's Chicken a la King. Well, I am here to tell you that Aunt Carrie could have been a bit more specific with her directions, so I am going to share exactly how I made my recipe since she left too much to chance!

Aunt Carrie's Chicken a la King

1 (5-pound) chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 small (2-ounce) jar pimientos
2 small (7-ounce) cans mushrooms
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 1 hour, until very tender. Debone and cut into large pieces. Strain and use remaining broth (I had about 6 cups) to cook celery, bell pepper and parsley, cooking until tender. Add a few tablespoons of water to the cornstarch to make a paste, then add to the broth and vegetables and whisk until completely blended. Add milk and whisk, then fold in chicken, pimientos, mushrooms, eggs and butter. Season as desired. Serve over rice. Yields 10-12 servings.


  1. Looks yummy. Don't forget back in the day, directions were less specific than they are now! I have some older cookbooks and they even omit oven temps for baked goods (because you KNEW a cake was baked at 350!)

    I have the same cookbook but I've not cooked from it but the chicken ala king recipe looks really good.

  2. Oh I haven't had this in years. My mouth is watering and your pix are perfect! I have a collection of green depression glass that I collected when I was first married. I forgot I have 4 divided plates. Your blog made me want to pull them out and use them!
    Thanks for the recipe.

  3. That's such a perfect Ladies Who Lunch dish...our local tearoom used to have one or more glorified versions...on Wednesdays. It was very popular. Thanks for a blast from the past. The tea room in our town closed almost 3 years ago. Those of us who used it MISS it!

  4. Thanks for sharing and we took miss our tea room here in our community... I don't undestand why tea rooms seem to ahve sucha difficult time getting regtular clientele! very sad!

  5. Haven't made that in years. I need to try this...

  6. This looks so good. I am going to go upstairs and copy this recipe.

  7. Well, after reading how most haven't had this recipe for years, I have to confess I've never had it. I wonder if chicken ala king originated in the south?
    It looks delicious Angela.

  8. This recipe looks delicious Angela - and I love your photos! I also love the photo on the cover of the cookbook: it reminds me of some of our vacation trips in Florida (in the 1960's).

    We went to Cypress Gardens and Weeki Wachii Springs - both places had tour guides that were dressed as Southern Belles, complete with hoop skirts, large hats and 'sun umbrellas,' to keep cool. As little girls, my sisters and I always vowed that 'someday, we are going to work there and be Southern Belles too!' Too funny!
    Hope you have a great week, Joanie


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