Everyone’s mom has a go-to “casserole”, at least if you’re from the Midwest they do. Well, my mom’s was Chicken Divan. Right now you might be thinking of cans of questionable cream-of-something-soup. Well, you would be right. I ‘m normally the one to upgrade things like this, or make my own cream-of-something-soup to replace it; this is one of those recipes (like beef stroganoff) that you just don’t mess with. Well, I mess with it a little, but I swear it’s just a little.
What makes this casserole different than your typical bag of frozen this, can of cream of that, is that it’s made with fresh ingredients. It’s poached chicken breasts, freshly steamed broccoli, and a lightly curried cream sauce. Sounds delicious doesn’t it?
Chicken Divan- from the Kitchen of Sue’s Mom.
2 medium to large heads of broccoli
4 large chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup (light is fine)
¼ cup mayo (light is fine)
½ cup milk (once again, skim is fine)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp curry powder
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs melted butter
Start by poaching the chicken. In a large pot of boiling water cook the chicken for about 30 minutes or until completely cooked through. This will largely depend on the size of your chicken breasts, check them by cutting into them with a knife, don’t worry about appearance, they are going into a casserole after all. While the chicken cooks, cut the broccoli into spears.
Steam the broccoli until it is fork tender.
In a 9X13 baking dish, arrange the chicken alternating with spears of broccoli. I place two stems of broccoli, florets facing opposite sides, in between each piece of chicken. In a small bowl whisk together soup, mayo, lemon juice, and curry powder. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with cheese.
In another small bowl pour the melted butter over the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
A few notes:
-Cat hasn’t eaten this in years- she won’t eat things with warm mayo. But I think after reading this and seeing the pictures even she may reconsider.
-My slight modification is extra curry. The recipe above reflects the original but when I make mine I use a highly mounded ½ tsp of curry. I love curry, what can I say.
-I always serve this with a side of Uncle Ben’s wild rice. It just goes together perfectly.
-My Mom also used to make an excellent version of this on pizza. That’s right- PIZZA. I may have even liked it better than this. She would use a plain pizza crust (which she of course made from scratch) use the curry sauce as the base, and top it with shredded chicken, broccoli florets, and sprinkle it with shredded cheddar. I think I need to make this soon…
-You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it. Or you can freeze it before you cook it and let it defrost in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before you bake it. I’m mentioning this because this is super common of Midwest style casseroles; they are often made ahead of time or given to neighbors and friends in times of need.