Chicken Divan is one of the great classic recipes from the 1950’s. A famous restaurant, The Divan Parisian, in the New York Chatham Hotel, made this one of their signature dishes in the early 20th century. The 1950 recipe called for broccoli, a good amount of mayonnaise and poached breasts of chicken (ugh!) either cut up into cubes or shredded. With the addition of one of the many Campbell soups, cream of mushroom, chicken or broccoli, this recipe was more often than not turned into a satisfying and comforting casserole. If you are old enough you will remember the Campbell’s Soup Kids with their adorable pudgy faces and rosey cheeks. And who can forget that famous jingle,” M’m! M’m! Good!”
Melt butter and oil in a large skillet. Saute shallot until soft. Add chicken and brown on both sides until golden in color and cooked through.
Remove chicken to another platter and add the 6 tablespoons of flour, cook 1 minute more. Add pepper and slowly add the chicken broth, the cream or milk, and the sherry to taste. At this point simmer 5 minutes.
Stir constantly, it will get thick quickly. Add 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese to sauce and re-season to your liking. Add cooked broccolini to sauce.
Now for the Risotto
Pour olive oil in large pan and saute onions until soft. Add rice and mix with the oil until all kernels are coated with the oil.
Watch carefully not to burn rice, 4 minutes is long enough. Now add about 1 1/2 cups of warm broth and cook until almost evaporated and dry looking. Add another 1 cup of the warm broth to rice and keep repeating this until the rice is tender, a tiny crunch in the rice is perfect! Finish with the 2 tablespoons of butter for a creamy risotto.
Now the presentation
To plate your meal lay risotto down first, top with chicken breast, sprinkled with the mozzarella and drizzle sauce with the broccolini over the chicken breast. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Dinnertime at our house was always fun and festive. The table was always set so beautifully, with every fork, knife and spoon perfectly placed in its rightful position and expected to be used at its appropriate time. Manners were never an option whether company was coming or not! It was a time when we all came together at the end of the day to share are stories about what happened in school or cheerleading practice. Mom spent most of her afternoons preparing a fabulous meal which was the highlight of our day (this was that June Cleaver thing going on at that time!). We were filled with such great anticipation as Mom walked so proudly over to the dinner table to serve the evening meal. Chicken Divan was one recipe Mom made quite often. We decoded to change the recipe a bit, by sauteing the chicken with shallots, creating a bechamel or a mornay sauce and using more parmesan cheese and mozzarella. We serve it over risotto, add baby broccolini and make it a little more fabulous. Enjoy!
About the Authors
We are identical twins, Judy and Joy, and have lived in Connecticut all of our lives. Our love of food and our passion for people lead us on this wonderful and exciting journey we have chosen. It all begins in our mother’s kitchen where she and her mom, our Nana, would prepare delicious and elaborate meals for the family and anyone else who was lucky enough to be there. Please visit us at Twicebakedtwins.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whipping cream or milk
- 2 or 3 tablespoons sherry
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
- 1 bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cooked
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb arborio rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine – optional
- 1 quart chicken broth, on stove and warming
- 2 tablespoons butter