Chicken Divan; spring

I’ve been attempting to cull my cook books.

It’s not an easy task – I keep getting distracted.

I had instructed myself to only judge the books by how recently I had used them. If they haven’t been opened in the last 10 or 20 years it might be time for them to go.

Of course I couldn’t resist having just one last look.

Some are old; some are new.

I think my oldest is from the mid ’40’s. It was my mother’s, possibly a wedding gift. I have most of the cook books that she (and my aunt) collected in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. The recipes can be a bit strange but I love reading the advice dished out: Remember to freshen your lipstick and remove your apron before your husband gets home from work.

A lot of them were written to use the new ‘convenience’ foods: canned soup, frozen vegetables, ready-made sauces.

This was a very popular ‘fancy’ dish….

I made it easy and skipped the ‘Cream of Mushroom Soup’.

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Chicken Divan

This is an updated version of an old recipe. I added Basmati rice to it for an easy ‘casserole’ dinner.
There is a bit of work first, but once it’s in the oven you can relax until dinner is served – from the casserole.

  • Author: Kate
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup (3.3oz, 95gr) Basmati rice
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken broth
  • 2 chicken breasts,(12oz, 360gr total weight) boneless, skinless, cut in half
  • 1/2 head broccoli, about 10oz (300gr), cut into small florets with stem
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken broth
  • 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) white wine
  • 2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr)  Gruyere, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

  • Cook rice in chicken broth according to package directions, about 16 minutes.
  • Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add shallots, garlic and sauté.
  • Add broth, thyme, parsley, heat to simmering.
  • Add chicken, broccoli, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  • When chicken / broccoli are done, remove to a plate.
  • Add mustard, wine, to cooking broth, and heat to a hard simmer.
  • Add cornstarch mixture, stirring until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, add yogurt and shredded cheese.
  • Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a baking dish.
  • Spread rice evenly over the sauce.
  • Arrange broccoli on top of the rice.
  • Put 1/3 sauce over broccoli.
  • Arrange chicken on top and pour remaining sauce over all.
  • Mix the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, paprika and sprinkle on top.
  • Bake in a 400F (200C) oven 15 – 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
  • Serve directly from the dish.

Notes

Substitute sour cream for the yogurt and a small onion for the shallots. The original recipe didn’t have rice in the dish, I added to make it an easy, complete dinner

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 recipe
  • Calories: 903
  • Sugar: 9.1 g
  • Sodium: 1664.9 mg
  • Fat: 30.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 12 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 74 g
  • Fiber: 6.3 g
  • Protein: 69.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 181.2 mg

Keywords: chicken divan, chicken, broccoli, rice, cheese sauce

Chicken Broccoli Divan

I’m getting spring fever.

The last 2 days have been beautiful. I went for a bike ride yesterday and my usual walk today.

I kept having to cross the road to get close to the mimosas.

I’m happy just standing near them and breathing. They have such a wonderful scent.

When I got home today I decided to check out the plum trees.

They were buzzing….

I’m surprised the photo doesn’t show all of the brown spots as there were bees everywhere.

I even saw a few butterflies, which is very unusual for this time of year.

The final bit for spring – we saw / heard 2 flocks of grue or cranes. They are so noisy one always hears them long before spotting them heading north for the summer.

Spring is coming….

13 thoughts on “Chicken Divan; spring”

  1. Spurred on by your comment on brambles, yesterday I was tackling our brambles late afternoon when skein after skein of grues went overhead. We watched them for at least half an hour and reckoned several thousand must have been moving northwards. The Dronne valley is one of their migration routes but we have never seen so many at one time and the noise was incredible despite the height they were at.

    Our Mirabelle tree has been in full bloom for almost week and the neighbouring mimosa trees are looking and smelling wonderful. I tried to photograph bees around the Cerinthes but only the ones that were stationary or about to land on a flower came out. My husband had the same result when he tried to photograph swallows swooping over water -the digital camera couldn’t handle the speed and only a couple showed in the photo

    • We used to have massive flocks of grues go over us but the routes must have changed. The last few years there have been just a few, small ones. I miss that joyful noise !
      Our Mirabelle doesn’t have as many blossoms this year but the blossoms for the little red plums are profuse – and full of big, black bees. I tried…

  2. Spring is most definitely not coming here yet. We’re getting 3-6 inches of snow this afternoon through early tomorrow morning. Then again, this is still February and spring really won’t start coming here until mid to late April. And it’s cold. Seventeen degrees right now though thankfully, no wind. I just got done letting another mouse go at the back of the property and it was cold enough without the wind. brrr…

    You know, I’ve never actually had Chicken Divan, the original or any other iteration. I really should try this. The only cream of canned anything I do anymore is for green bean casserole at Thanksgiving because the family would revolt if I changed that in any way so this would be a great recipe to try.

    • And you still have the March blizzards to look forward to!
      I ran across an original Chicken Divan recipe from an old cook book (in my culling attempt). It called for ‘Cream of Chicken Soup’ and ‘dairy sour cream’ – is there a non-dairy sour cream? as well as heavy cream. Of course it was ‘frozen broccoli spears’ and ‘sliced ‘chicken white meat’. That’s why it’s taking me forever to go through the cook books lol

      • There actually is. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. It’s been around a long time and I understand it’s supposed to be quite good. And as you can guess, tofu is the main ingredient. I’ve never had it. I know they’re coming up with more thanks to veganism becoming more of a thing. I might have to give it a try not for the vegan thing but because anything at all milk based now is not something I can eat anymore and I love my green bean soup!

        • I don’t think anything with tofu would have made it into the small town church cook books…. It has barely made an appearance here. Actually, I should spend some time checking out the ‘bio’ stores (organic) There could be interesting things!

  3. Every so often I try to throw away cookbooks I don’t use. Invariably, I cannot. I find myself thinking that I might consult it sometime after all.

    My mother had a book called The Dinner Party Cookbook. She consulted it whenever she was going to splash out with a dinner that we children were NOT invited to. (My parents and 3 other couples alternated houses to throw fancy dinner parties just for the adults.) I remember clearly the time Mum made Chicken Divan. I was 15 and it was the first time that I had a.) seen broccoli and b.) tasted it. (There was another occasion when I was 16 that Mum used tarragon – another first for me.)

    I now have The Dinner Party Cookbook, as well as some of Mum’s vintage cookbooks that I couldn’t leave behind. One of the books has several “Notes to Brides”. One of my favourite notes is at the end of the old fashioned rice pudding recipe: “Save the rice water; it’s a grand starch for thin curtains, collars and cuffs.”

    What beautiful photos of blossoms!! It snowed again last night but I still have hope that spring might spring before Easter. (Hope I didn’t jinx anything by saying that!)

    • My mother’s and aunt’s old cook books are staying, definitely. My aunt was always one for sticking things in books… could be a pressed flower or shopping receipt or a letter from my mother. Her cook books are always a treat to go through. The ones I’m getting rid of or ones I bought in my early adulthood – The Hamburger Cook Book – and the like.
      Your Dinner Party Cookbook sounds wonderful!

      • I find myself incapable of tossing the early adulthood cookbooks too “Best of Bridge”, “Fondues”, “Candymaking”. I look at them and just can’t bear the notion of throwing them out. Even though, I think I’ve only ever made one thing from each of them.

        The Dinner Party Cookbook is BRILLIANT! I’ve never made anything from it either, but I love looking at the well read pages with dried splashes of stock, or wine, or butter on them, and a very few small carefully scrawled notes in Mum’s handwriting in the margins. But my favourite page is the one with the fondue neuchateloise recipe (from “New Year’s Eve Buffet”) with my sister’s writing at the top in block letters. It says, “Don’t use this recipe. It doesn’t work!”

        • I think I have Candymaking…. I searched everywhere for my Joys of Jello and can’t find it. Not that I ever made anything from it but it was such fun to go through. I must have tossed it in a cleaning or packing frenzy.

          • As I recall, we bought Candymaking on a remainders table. I vaguely remember that it was $2. We got Fondues at the same time. I have made several (heavily revised with penned notes in the margin) of the accompaniments to go with our Fondue Chinoise – the Fondue Chinoise itself made from a combination of recipes from different books and also revised over the years by both of us.

            We never had Joys of Jello {snort} but we did have a one page holiday flyer from 7Up with various punches that I have now. We still make the “green” punch at Christmas time. But we don’t add any green food colouring (ewwww) and use soda water instead of 7Up.

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