I first had this in a Danish restaurant in Seattle at least forty years ago, and I just loved the crust of buttery, crunchy sliced almonds. I suppose we should offer it to some prima donna, because it’s very much like Chicken Tetrazzini. Perhaps, in honor of its Scandinavian origin, we should call it Chicken Nilsson.
Yield: 6 servings
8 ounces rice noodles
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac
1½ teaspoons salt; less, if you use canned chicken broth
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon tarragon
Dash of Tabasco
3 cups poached chicken, removed from the bone
¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Cover the noodles with cold water, and let them soak for 3 to 4 hours. If you use ordinary wheat noodles, cook them in boiling water, drain, and set them aside.
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Mix the flour into the melted butter and cook it slowly, stirring all the time, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the roux is well blended. Stir in the chicken broth and cook until the sauce is smooth, thick, and at the boiling point. Add the cream, Cognac, salt, pepper, tarragon, and Tabasco, and cook briefly to heat through and blend the flavors. An additional tablespoon of butter swirled in at this point will give an even richer sauce. Add the chicken to the pan, taste, and correct the seasoning.
Arrange the noodles in a buttered baking dish. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly over them, and cover the chicken with a good layer of toasted almonds. Dot with butter. Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, when the top should be brown and crunchy, an absolutely delicious finish.