Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan has come full circle. Originally made with mornay sauce (bechamel or white sauce with cheese in it), over the years it turned into something you dumped canned chicken, frozen broccoli and a can of cream-of-something-soup into.

Well. We don't eat cream-of-something soup anymore because it usually has soy. I don't like frozen broccoli because the stems are tough and the crowns are mushy. So, let's go with a standard recipe and cut down on some of the butter and cheese to reduce the fat. The classic cheeses to use are half gruyere and half parmesan, but you can use anything you have on hand. We like sharp cheddar.

Chicken Divan
Serves 4

4 cups broccoli
4 tsp butter
1/4 cup minced onion or shallot (optional)
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder or 1 cube
1 cup milk
2 oz shredded cheese (1/2 cup)
10 oz sliced, cooked chicken
Cooked noodles, rice, or toast

1. Steam the broccoli--let the water in the steamer come to a rolling boil, then steam the broccoli for 8 or 9 minutes, covered.

2. While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Saute the optional onions until they are soft but not browning at the edges. (If you don't want to do this, add 1 tsp minced dried onion later with the chicken bouillon.)

3. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and stir. Add the chicken broth or water all at once and stir until smooth. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, until it is all incorporated and smooth. Heat until just bubbly.

4. Add the chicken bouillon and shredded cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the chicken and stir to coat with sauce.

5. Dish out the rice, noodles, or toast on 4 plates or shallow soup dishes. Divide up the broccoli over this. Ladle the chicken and sauce over all.

Note: If you are really energetic you can poach your own chicken for this. I simmer chicken breasts with some celery leaves, a couple of baby carrots, several grinds of pepper, and a bay leaf. When it is done, I simmer the broth down to concentrate it and use in the recipe.

No-soy considerations:
Check the chicken bouillon for soy.
If serving over toast, check the bread for soy or soy oil.