Chicken Divan is an American casserole dish made with chicken, broccoli, seasonings and a thick sauce. The sauce may be made with ingredients like condensed cream of mushroom soup, seasonings, cheese, lemon juice and wine. The dish is typically prepared by topping cooked broccoli florets with cooked and sliced chicken breasts, a sauce such as Mornay sauce, and cheese, and then baking it. It is served with side dishes like bread or salad.
Chicken Divan was originally made by the chefs of Divan Parisienne Restaurant of the New York Chatham Hotel. It is considered that the dish was given this name to imply elegance and attract attention of the restaurant's owners. It was a signature dish of the restaurant in the early twentieth century, though the exact chefs who contributed to its making are not known.
Ingredients and Preparation
Ingredients required for preparation of the dish are broccoli, cooked and chopped chicken breasts, chicken stock, flour, butter, cheese, whipping cream and dry white wine. Other ingredients like mushrooms, water chestnuts and curry powder are used in different variants. Parmesan, Cheddar or Gruyere cheese are usual options for the dish.
The preparation involves cooking the broccoli in water till tender. A sauce is made with butter, flour, salt, pepper and chicken broth, to which whipping cream and wine are added when it thickens. The broccoli is placed in a baking dish and the sauce is poured over it. The combination is then topped with chicken, more sauce and cheese. The dish is baked till golden brown.
The dish may be topped with bread crumbs or crushed potato chips before baking.
Some recipes suggest the use of condensed cream of broccoli soup mixed with milk in place of the sauce. Others may use a mixture of condensed cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup along with mayonnaise and lime juice. Or else, a simple Mornay sauce may be prepared with butter, flour, milk and cheese, and ingredients like sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, celery soup and mayonnaise mixed in it. The recipe is flexible and one can use flavoring herbs and spices as per choice.
Chicken Divan is served hot, with accompaniments like bread and green salad.
The dish is rich in lean protein on account of the chicken used. The cheese-rich dish is also a great source of calcium which is extremely beneficial for bone and dental health. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, fiber and calcium. The calorie count of the dish can be reduced by using a low fat variant of cheese. A single serving of the dish contains anywhere between 300 to 500 calories. Exact nutritional break up varies with individual recipe.