Chicken DivinePosted: May 15, 2012
Isn’t there something great about a good casserole? The way everything just bakes together, creating one completely comforting and satisfying meal … it’s almost divine. Chicken divine? No, today it’s chicken divan. This is an update on the classic dish that most people have probably had in some form or another. There are a lot of recipes out there that call for cream of whatever soup, but it’s just as easy to make your own cream sauce like the one here, flavored with two kinds of cheese, fresh thyme and a little cayenne. I love that the rice, broccoli and chicken form these tasty layers that bubble with delight as it bakes. And the way the bread crumb and almond topping give it a nice, slightly sweet crunch.
– ¾ cup of bread crumbs
– ½ cup of slivered almonds
– 1 large broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized florets and stem pieces
– 1 medium white onion, finely diced
– 1 ½ cups of long grain & wild rice
– Garlic salt
– 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
– ¼ cup of flour
– 2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
– ¾ cup of light cream
– 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
– ½ cup of grated Parmesan
– 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped thyme
– ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– 5 to 6 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil
In a food processor, pulse together the bread crumbs and almonds. Add a drizzle of olive oil and process until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.
Heat your oven to 400º.
Fill a Dutch oven or large pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and teaspoon of salt and cook for 1 minute, or until the broccoli is bright green and crisp tender. Drain and set aside.
Wipe clean the Dutch oven and then heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli stem pieces and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the rice, season with a little garlic salt, and cook for 1 minute. Add about 3 ½ cups of water and bring to a simmer. Then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the water is nearly all absorbed and rice is tender, about 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and cream, and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Off the heat, stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, thyme and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Add the rice mixture to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add the broccoli florets in an even layer over the rice. Add the chicken cutlets on top, making sure each piece slightly overlaps like shingles. Cover the chicken with about 2 cups of the cream sauce and the bread crumb mixture. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, the top is brown and the edges are bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve with the additional sauce and eat.