Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chicken (not) Divan

Yesterday I was browsing the internet for inspiration on "what's for dinner" question that pops up every day. I decided I wanted to attack the week with a PLAN. We'll see how that goes, but I did go to the grocery store with a LIST! and a MENU. For those that know me, they know this never happens. It's amazing I put dinner together at all, really. I'm constantly just throwing things together from the top of my head and from whatever ingredients are in the pantry/fridge. I came across a recipe called Chicken Divan. I am sure I've had this somewhere sometime, but I don't think I've ever made it. It sounded good and like it could be easily adapted to REAL food (the recipe called for canned mushroom soup) and I figured I could do nuts on top instead of breadcrumbs. I even got ambitious enough to double the recipe to make two casseroles so I'd have dinner ready another time. In all my enthusiasm, I forgot half of the seasonings that were listed in the recipe. From my general search on Chicken Divan, a common theme is that they all  have curry powder. Mine doesn't have anything but salt and pepper since I totally forgot to add the other spices, but when you use real ingredients that have so much flavor on their own, it still came out a tasty dish. I think the curry would have been great, but perhaps next time! My girls both really liked this dinner.

My Chicken (not) Divan
(makes 2 casseroles)

6 poached chicken breasts, chopped*
1 recipe of mushroom sauce**
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
14 oz grated cheddar cheese
4 heads of steamed broccoli
1 cup chopped nuts for topping

In a very large bowl, mix the chicken, mushroom sauce, mayo, most of the cheese and the steamed broccoli. Pour it into two casserole dishes. Top with the rest of the cheese and nuts. Bake at 350 until bubbly and cheese is melted.

*You can use any kind of cooked chicken, baked, sauted, etc. I poach my chicken by placing breasts in a pot, cover with water. Add salt, bay leaf, all spice and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Do NOT boil or the chicken will be tough. The water can then be used as a chicken broth (stock uses bones, but this is a nice delicate broth.)

**Mushroom Sauce:
a lot of mushrooms- 5 cups or so
1/2 large onion finely diced
1 pint of heavy cream preferably not pasteurized, but I haven't been able to get any of that yet.
1/4 cup flour - I used whole wheat
3 tbsp butter

To make the mushroom sauce, chop onion very small and place it in a large skillet with melted butter. Chop mushrooms as small as you like. Since I was again, mimicking the canned sauce, I chopped them fine since the canned stuff almost doesn't even hint at mushroom.... strange, right? Add the mushrooms to the softened, translucent onions and cook until they have cooked down quite a bit. Add more butter if the skillet is dry. Sprinkle flour across mushrooms and stir until there is no dry flour left. Pour in cream and bring to a boil to thicken.

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