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Don’t be a Chicken

February 19, 2011

This was the first meal that I was afraid I might not like. I was wrong.

The reason for my concern can best be summed up in one green, cruciferous word: Broccoli. I am not a fan of broccoli and in fact my acceptance of green food in general has been a slow and stubborn process. I think I was scarred early in life by limp overcooked broccoli and an abundance of mushy brussel sprouts. Late in life I have come to accept and even enjoy some green things. Why just today I was trying to convince Kira that the mold on some bread was probably not going to kill us. Really though, how bad could a little mold be – it can’t taste worse than brussel sprouts.

I digress. The Chicken Divan called for 40 oz of broccoli along with the chicken, cheese , bread crumbs and creamy Campbell’s sponsored chicken-based sauce. I probably put in about 10 – 15 oz. I just couldn’t bring myself to add more broccoli than chicken.  We had my BIL and SIL over for dinner tonight to help us eat all the food and they were of the opinion that more broccoli would have been a good thing. I thought it was just enough and Kira graciously agreed with me. Either way the dish turned out to be quite delicious. Much like the Chicken and Noodles dish I made  a few weeks ago the thing that made this dish for me was the addition of the spices. The recipe called for a teaspoon of  homemade curry powder and a scant amount of cayenne. It gave the sauce a slight zip, but it was not really hot.

Chicken Divan was one of the simpler meals I’ve cooked so far. There were two sub-recipes, but one was mayonnaise which I almost have memorized and the other was the curry which was just plain fun to make. It didn’t present very well after being scooped into the bowls, but that did not hurt the flavor.

Recipe #42: 1960’s-style Chicken Divan

Damn Good Food Quote of the Day: The original recipe for this dish came from Better Homes and Gardens, but over the years and decades, mom has continued to amend and refine the recipe.

If you haven’t voted in the What will Mike Cook poll do so soon. The poll will be closed end of day on Tuesday 2/22.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jimmy Vickers permalink
    March 5, 2011 9:08 pm

    Oops….I wrote Bechamel and I meant hollandaise…sorry…too many pre dinner Manhattans….

  2. Jimmy Vickers permalink
    March 5, 2011 6:16 pm

    Well…first off…

    Whole spears of broccoli, stems peeled and then blanched look very pretty, with whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Then a rich, rich classic Bechamel (I use Galatoire’s recipe which includes white wine…beware of curdling!) Add some cayenne to the sauce. This can be a very elegant looking dish, great for buffet luncheons or suppers, made ahead and refrigerated before baking. You won’t need bowls (which are for soup, cereal and babies.) I grew up in the South where opening cans of soup to make dishes is an artform. But it was always lost on my grandmother who insisted that things be made from whole ingredients, and this represents the apex of refined, old-fashioned Southern cooking. We never saw anything fried or greasy on my grandmother’s table, but we were old-line Southerners and still carry that culinarty torch.

    We have Divan three or four times a year still. I love the creamy blandness with nice rice and almonds. Check the Southern Living magazine version. ALSO… steaming Brussels sprouts for four minutes in a little salted water, then draining, adding a huge knob of butter and a big spoon of Grey Poupon will make a believer out of any sprout hater….

  3. February 21, 2011 8:56 am

    I can do the broccoli, but as an adult, I refuse to do brussel sprouts! What were our mother’s trying to do to us, forcing us to eat that stuff? The Chicken Divan looks so delicious!

  4. February 20, 2011 2:16 pm

    I like broccoli as well. I love it many ways but I am not a very good “trier”. If I don’t know what is in something then I have a hard time trying it and if the texture is too mushy, I can’t eat it… I guess I am quite picky…LOL

  5. February 19, 2011 9:58 pm

    i could live on broccoli. steamed, with butter, pepper, and a splash of fresh lemon. oh my.

    • February 19, 2011 10:55 pm

      I am guessing if I’d had broccoli cooked that way growing up I may feel differently.

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