Chicken Divan from Scratch

Chicken Divan

No “cream-of-Something”, no artificial flavors, no preservatives – just creamy, tasty chicken goodness! That’s the secret behind this Chicken Divan Casserole recipe I made the other night for friends.

I checked my freezer and had 4 nice chicken breasts, so a Chicken Divan from Scratch sounded perfect.  It bakes in the oven without a lot of fuss, so I can enjoy the guests while the oven does all the work.

I like to use fresh broccoli – it takes about 1 medium head.  I trim off the woody parts and break the florets off as I cut up the stalk.


I love using my covered enameled cast-iron casserole for this dish.

No messing with foil and burning my fingers! And it goes straight from the oven to the table. Easy to clean, too.


You can use a number of different cheeses for this, or even a mixture.  I usually use a medium cheddar or a cheddar/jack mix.  Young cheeses full of moisture will melt better and create a creamy sauce.  Older cheeses have a lot of punch though, so for extra flavor, you could add a portion of something harder and more dense – but I wouldn’t recommend more than 1/4 cheese be comprised of aged cheese.

I’d bought 4 large bone-in chicken breasts on sale at the market a while ago, and had been rolling around in my head what I wanted to do with them.  When I decided on Divan, I knew I’d have to de-bone and skin these breasts to make the recipe work.  When I do it, I just dig a finger into the bone at the base of the breast and give a good yank – when you know the right spot, you can pull it right off the bone. See the video below:

Click & Grow instruction
Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan Casserole

No “cream-of-Something”, no artificial flavors, no preservatives – just creamy, tasty chicken goodness! That’s the secret behind this Classic Chicken Divan Casserole recipe.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Dishes, Chicken Divan from Scratch
Servings: 8 people
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 2 heads Broccoli sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 whole Chicken Breasts, skinless, deboned sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil for browning
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth or Stock
  • 1/2 cup Dairy (cream, 1/2 & 1/2, or plain yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup White Wine or Sherry
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded stick with a young cheese, or the oil will separate out
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg (Less than 1/8 tsp)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • If you have a covered casserole (I love my Le Creuset for this!) that’s ideal. Or spray a 9X13″ baking pan with oil.
  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Steam the broccoli for about 4 minutes until it turns bright green. Set aside.
    Steamed Broccoli
  • Saute the cubed breasts in hot oil until lightly browned. Do not overcook. Drain.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter. With a wire whisk, stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Let this roux (“roo”) cook for 4 minutes or so, until it begins to brown and floury taste is gone.  
  • Slowly (it will be super-hot) add the broth to the roux, then the wine and dairy, whisking over low heat until the sauce thickens, about a minute.
  • Add a dash of nutmeg (and by “dash” it means “less than you can measure in your tiniest measuring spoon.”) 
  • Stir in all but 1/4 cup of the cheese until it’s melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, but depending on the cheese and broth you use, you may need more or less.)
  • Place the cubed breasts in the baking dish. Top with broccoli. Pour the sauce over the top and add the remaining cheese. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 35 to 45 minutes – removing the lid/foil for the last 10.
    Cheese sauce with broccoli

Video

I made some rice, using my remaining chicken stock for liquid, and sauteed some Zucchini and Summer Squash with lemon pepper for a side.  An easy dinner for four, and I was able to do it while having wine and conversation!

I love using my ceramic-on-steel casserole for making this dish.  There’s no fussing with foil (whereupon I always burn myself trying to put it on/take it off).  The heavy lid works perfectly to keep the chicken moist, and when you want to brown the top a bit, you just take it off! Couldn’t be simpler. Here’s some good ones I’ve found:

If you have a moment to let me know how it worked out for you, I’d love to hear it.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey Don! I made this last night for dinner with Bernice! Coupled with a nice salad and homemade yeast rolls, we all voted this delicious take on Chicken Divan the best! Thanks for another winner!
    Robin

    1. Great! That’s my go-to when I have a bunch of guests. Easy and leaves you free to talk and sip on some wine!

  2. Any special type of white wine?

    1. I use a chardonnay and it works well, even being a bit more full-bodied. So I think any white wine around 12% alcohol would be perfect.

  3. I want to make this soon! It looks simple and delectable. Thanks!

  4. Ok What would I make!! SOOO many things- Cheesy poatto casserole, Chicken, Baked Tilapia, my famous chicken or beef enchilada’s The list could go on and on!!! What an amazing addition this would make towards my culinary efforts in the kitchen. Love your blog =) Thanks for this chance!!

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