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Modern Chicken Divan

October 11, 2011

Well there has been a slight change in our temporary living situation in Texas, but not in my mission to bring you delicious, natural one pot and casserole dishes all month long. Let’s just say the first house left a bit to be desired in the “clean” department and we decided it was best to move on.

Our new place has a full working kitchen and I could not possibly be more thrilled! We are still working with a limited pantry and limited cooking tools, so the one pan/pot challenge is still very applicable.

My first recipe is a modern take on a classic casserole: Chicken Divan. What makes this recipe extra fabulous is the simple mushroom cream sauce you create, rather than the usual mayonnaise, canned soup, sour cream sauce you may have tried before. It creates a dish that is lower in sodium and calories. Not to mention the rich flavor and texture the home-made sauce lends to the final product is very pleasing to the palate.

I will apologize now that my photos will not be the best over the next few weeks. There is no natural light in our kitchen and that translates to less than ideal photo conditions. I promise the food will still be delicious, even under fluorescent light.

Updated Chicken Divan
Yields: 4 Servings

1 head Broccoli (chopped, about 4 cups)
4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast (pounded to 1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons All purpose flour
3 tablespoons Unsalted butter (divided)
6 large Button mushrooms (sliced)
1/3 cup Dry white wine
1 1/4 cups Low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup Half and half
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Fresh tarragon (chopped)
1/4 cup Dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a deep 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Arrange the broccoli in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Place the chicken breasts on top of the broccoli in a single layer.
3. Heat medium skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Melt butter, add the mushrooms and saute for a couple of minutes. Whisk in 2 rounded tablespoons flour. Cook the flour 1 minute then whisk in 1/3 cup white wine. Cook off wine, 30 seconds, then whisk in 1 1/4 cups of chicken stock then the half-and-half. When sauce bubbles, stir in mustard and tarragon and let sauce simmer and thicken 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Pour sauce over the chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, then the Parmesan. Dot the top with 1 tablespoon butter.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, uncovered, until the broccoli is tender and the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a the tip of a knife. Use an oversized spoon to serve.

Kate’s Thoughts

Surprisingly I’ve never cooked with fresh tarragon, but it was fabulous! I would absolutely recommend using fresh over dried in this recipe, as there is minimal seasoning and the fresh tarragon truly becomes the star.

I chose to use thin chicken cutlets rather than pounding out the chicken breasts, but both will work in this recipe. In addition, to save time, you could purchase pre-chopped mushrooms and broccoli.

I served the chicken mixture over rice to create a complete meal. I personally like the melding of flavors that cooking this dish casserole style creates, but if you are looking to save time, it can easily be converted to an even quicker dish. Simply season the chicken with salt and pepper and then saute in a large skillet before making the cream sauce. Prepare your rice and steam the broccoli while the sauce comes together. When it comes time to serve, layer the broccoli and chicken over the rice and then top with the cream sauce. My guess is that either way, you’ll be pleased!

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