Chicken Divan Recipe
In a food world casseroles allow us to experience different unusual combinations of flavors with limitless options. Although they all promise the same delicious looks and creamy texture, each one includes one ingredient which truly distinguishes it from the other casseroles with unique flavor or fragrance. This particular version uses broccoli to make that happen. The attractive green and tender chicken with creamy sauce makes it irresistible to your palates. Be sure to try it at least once in your cooking journey.
1 medium sized broccoli
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups chicken stock(homemade, low sodium is preferred)
Salt to your taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter(melted)
½ cup crackers(crushed lightly)
½ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup sharp Cheddar cheese(shredded)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Clean the chicken breasts under running water; use a paper towel to pat dry the chicken.
Put the chicken breasts in a pot on a stovetop over medium to high flame. Pour chicken broth into the pot; let the chicken completely covered by broth. Add salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper to it. Once broth starts boiling reduce the flame to simmer; poach the chicken in the broth for about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate; let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into 1 inch cubes. Save the stock for further use.
Stem 1 medium sized broccoli and cut into 1 inch florets;
Boil them in a pot with 2 cups fresh water for 3 minutes or until they are tender.
Drain the water and arrange cooked broccoli in the prepared baking dish as a single layer.
Put 1 can cream of chicken soup in a wide bowl with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt(to your taste) and ¼ cup saved stock. Stir it with a spatula to make a light creamy sauce. Now add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and combine it well.
Pour this mixture over the broccoli pieces on the baking dish; pat it down with a spatula evenly. In a bowl combine melted butter and crushed crackers; Sprinkle remaining ½ cup shredded cheese and buttered cracker crumbs over the chicken.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Serve it hot with steamed rice or crusty bread.
Notes & Tips:
You may use leftover chicken or turkey for this recipe.
Instead of cubes, cut the chicken to your preference.
Use frozen broccoli (thawed before baking) instead of fresh one.
Panko or any other bread crumbs can be substituted in the place of crackers.
Replace cream of chicken soup with heavy cream.
For another variation, use 1 teaspoon curry powder instead of cayenne pepper.
If you are sensitive to broccoli replace it with cauliflower. Or use mix of broccoli and cauliflower for different flavor.