When planning my meals, I always look to see what I have on hand and then try to find something to make to use up these ingredients.
As it turns out, I had some fresh broccoli leftover from last week’s grad party (if you remember in a post earlier this week, I made some Cauliflower Soup with the leftover cauliflower) along with all of the ingredients necessary to make Chicken Divan.
The recipe I used has a few steps, but it is not hard and is a no bake Chicken Divan which is good for those warm days when you don’t want to use the oven.
The other fun thing about making this dish was that I got to do so with my middle child. It was not only an opportunity to spend time with her, but I got to share some cooking tips and hints that she can take with her into her new life as a full-fledged adult.
I was able to share with her how to make a roux and a cheese sauce, how to properly handle and prepare raw chicken, and how to steam broccoli perfectly. This is an easy dish to make during the week, but also just fancy enough to make for a special meal, too.
Chicken Divan ingredients – there are three different components to this recipe – the chicken, the sauce, and the broccoli.
The first step is to prepare the chicken. Trim off any fat, and, if necessary, pound each piece so that it is an even thickness. Salt and pepper each piece. Combine the bread crumbs and parsley and dredge in this mixture. Set aside.
Prepare the Mornay (Cheese) Sauce. Melt 2 TB of butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to brown the flour. Slowly add the half-and-half and bring almost to a boil.
Temper the egg by adding a few tablespoons of the roux mixture to the egg stirring constantly. Add the egg mixture back into the roux and add the cheeses and onion. Stir constantly until the cheeses are completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Keep the sauce warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until ready to use.
While you are making the sauce, you can steam the broccoli and sauté the chicken breasts.
Melt 4 TB of butter over medium heat in a skillet large enough to accommodate the chicken breasts. Sauté the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side until completely cooked. The time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the breasts, but do not overcook. You want them to be tender not tough.
Place the steamed broccoli onto your serving dish.
Add your chicken pieces.
Pour the sauce over it all and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve immediately. We served this with a side of white rice.
Adapted from a recipe that originally appeared in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and was served at the now closed Wharf Cafe in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.
⅔ cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably made from French bread
2 TB minced fresh parsley, plus extra for serving
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
6 TB butter, divided
2 TB all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1 egg yolk, beaten
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup finely diced onion
¾ to 1 pound broccoli florets
To prepare the chicken:
Combine bread crumbs with parsley. If necessary, pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, dredge in the bread crumb mixture, and set aside.
To prepare the Mornay (Cheese) Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt 2 TB of butter over medium low heat. Blend in the flour. Cook and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly stir in half-and-half. Continue to cook and stir over medium low heat until the white sauce is almost boiling. Stir about 2 TB white sauce into the beaten egg yolk. Return the yolk mixture to the saucepan and stir in the Parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, and onion. Stir to help melt the cheeses and keep the sauce smooth as it thickens. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp of each). Keep the cheese sauce warm over low heat, whisking occasionally.
To prepare the broccoli:
While you are preparing the sauce, cook the broccoli just until crisp-tender. Microwave for 3 minutes and allow to sit for another 3 minutes, or boil in salted water for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
To sauté the chicken:
While the sauce and broccoli are cooking, melt the remaining 4 TB of butter in a large skillet. Add the chicken pieces and sauté for about 5 minutes per side (may need to adjust depending on the thickness of the breasts) or until done.
Arrange the broccoli on a serving plate. Top with the cooked chicken breasts. Pour the cheese sauce over the it all, and sprinkle with additional parsley. Serve immediately.