Chicken Divan, the casserole usually made with broccoli, almonds, and cheese sauce, gets elevated to Divine status in this yummy version. The strong Gruyère cream sauce laced with sherry is so good. It’s like fondue in casserole form.
I couldn’t find cooked chicken and was too lazy to make my own (I know, I know….that is really lazy) so I bought a pack of frozen chicken tenders. I baked them then chopped them up. Since they were already breaded, I omitted step 6 in the directions which creates a breadcrumb topping to sprinkle over the casserole.
Divine Chicken Divan
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
5 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 6 ounces)
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or 1 (26 ounce) package frozen chicken breast tenders, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400℉. Grease a shallow 3-quart casserole dish.
2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Pat dry and set aside.
3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook 1 minute, then add the flour. Cook, whisking, for 2 to 3 minutes, without allowing to brown. Add the sherry and cook about 1 minute until evaporated.
4. Whisk in broth, milk, heavy cream and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally to smooth any lumps, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the green onions and Gruyère. Cook until the cheese is melted, then remove the sauce from the heat. Correct seasoning.
5. In a large bowl, mix together the cheese sauce, broccoli, chicken and almonds. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.
6. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave, then toss with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole. (If using chicken breast tenders omit this step)
7. Bake until browned and sauce is bubbling, about 35 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8
Recipe slightly adapted from Nancy Fuller
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