Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cooking without the Campbells...

Why yes, I am writing about food yet again! I do a lot of cooking, so I do a lot of thinking about food as a result. Whatever I'm thinking about the most is what's going to show up here... Yesterday I decided to try my hand at an American classic: Chicken Divan. All the recipes I came across were for "Speedy Chicken Divan" or "Quick Chicken Divan" or "Instant Chicken Divan" - somewhere along the line, someone told American cooks that a meal should take no more than 30 minutes to prepare and cook (I'm looking at you, Rachel Ray) and the idea appears to have stuck. I have nothing against quick meals and will even admit that reading Rachel Ray recipes is a bit of a guilty pleasure... The problem I have with quick recipes is trying to make them while living here - in the land of no canned Cream of _____ soup and no cheap rotisserie chickens - the land of no shortcuts. So my goal yesterday was to come up with my own Chicken Divan recipe, shortcut free (give or take a cube of bouillon).

It has now been 20+ hours since eating that Divan and, since neither Mr K nor I have keeled over from any exciting food-related illnesses, I feel ready to throw my chicken recipe out to the world. As to the title... well, it doesn't actually take all day - more like 45 minutes prep time and 35 - 45 cook time if you're efficient. Took me more like an hour and 20 minutes of prep, but I do dishes as I go, so that slows me down. Here it is - if anyone tries it, let me know what you think. This is my first foray into recipe writing.

All-Day Divan Poulet

Serves: two big dinners and one lunch portion for the next day


  • 2 tablespoon butter

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup milk

  • 4-5 small white button mushrooms, finely chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pound of fresh broccoli, florets chopped, stem peeled and chopped

  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice, divided

  • ½ – 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • ¼ cup chopped green onion

  • 1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step one: Prepare Divan sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gradually stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time until smooth. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth, milk and finely chopped mushrooms, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed to taste. Pour into a medium-sized bowl and set aside to cool..

Step two: Prepare chicken and broccoli

To cook the chicken breasts, bring a cup of water to a boil in a shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to water. Add salt and pepper to taste. When water boils, add chicken breasts, cover, and remove from heat. Let chicken steam for 15 minutes or until opaque. Let chicken cool slightly before chopping into bite-sized pieces.

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes or until bright green, taking care not to overcook. Drain broccoli.

Step three: Build Divan

To bowl of Divan sauce, add chopped green onion, one tablespoon of lemon juice, curry powder and mayonnaise. Stir sauce to incorporate and set aside.

Layer steamed broccoli in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan. Layer chopped chicken over broccoli. Pour reserved Divan sauce over chicken and spread evenly. Sprinkle shredded cheese over sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cheese.

Step four: Bake

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned on top.


Anonymous said...

yummy!! gonna have to try this one day! maybe you should write a cookbook! --katie

Anonymous said...

Nigella's Catatorie
-1/4 lb. bacon, chopped
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-2 shallots, chopped
-2 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
-2 tsp. fresh thyme, stripped from stems
-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into quarters
-1 tsp. celery salt
-3/4 cups white wine
-2 cans diced tomatoes
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1 can cannelloni beans
-salt & pepper

I marinated the chicken with the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and rosemary.
Start with the bacon and olive oil. I chopped the bacon up real fine so it would cook faster then add the chicken and shallots. Add wine while chicken is cooking. Then add the tomatoes and beans. Add more pepper and salt.

I served mine over egg noodles and added grated parm chee. Delicious. Took only 30 minutes or so. I marinated the chicken a couple hours before.

AciDemon said...

mmmmh, foood.
i guess i would mess this up - totaly, since i'm not really a good cook.
but it sounds tasty.

Kasia said...

yay for the recipe! Thanks a bunch! Sounds divine ;)I think I will have to practice my skills in newely learned American home cusine ;) See you tomorrow!

Jen said...

I've fallen behind on my blog-reading, but now that I've seen this recipe I'm going to have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing your creation!