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Back to the 70's Chicken Divan

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I can remember making this easy casserole back in the 1970's when I was a very young new bride and thinking it was the penultimate in sophistication.  First there was the name, which sounds exotic.   Then there was the broccoli.  I don't know about you, but growing up in the 60's, in Nova Scotia, Canada  . . .  in a small town . . .  broccoli wasn't something we ever saw.  To me Broccoli was an exotic vegetable.

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To me, back then . . .  this was dinner party or date night fare!  You had meat, a vegetable and a scrummy sauce, all blanketed beneath cheese and buttered cracker crumbs.  What was not to like!  It was easy and delicious!  And I thought, quite impressive!

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Nobody thought anything much about using condensed tinned soups back then.   They were in everybody's most people's cupboards.  My kids used to love this.  (It was a great way to get them to eat their broccoli . . .  well this and then there was melting cheeze whiz and pouring it over top, but we won't go there.)

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I still make this from time to time and we still enjoy it.   Only difference is now I am more than likely to make my sauce from scratch.  It's healthier and there are no chemicals or preservatives.  I am also more than likely to use Purple Sprouting Broccoli or Tender Stem Broccoli because I am lucky enough to live in a time and age when those types of things are readily available.

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It tastes rich and it is delicious and it provides just enough nostalgia to make me feel all warm and comfy inside.   I like to serve this with small baked jacket potatoes (for the fibre) and a vegetable.  Yesterday it was green beans.

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*Back to the 70's Chicken Divan*
Serves 4
This hearkens back to the early days of my cooking life, when I thought this was the ultimate in sophistication.   Maybe it was pretty sophisticated in comparison to my mother's cooking, but it is rather dated now.  That doesn't mean it doesn't still taste delicious.   Only difference now is I make my own sauce instead of using tinned soup.  Super simple and super tasty.

You will need:
2 cups of cooked chicken, cut into chunks
4 cups of broccoli florets, cooked
2 ounces grated cheddar cheese (I like to use strong)
a couple handfuls of crushed cracker crumbs
butter to dot

For the Sauce:
180ml of chicken broth (3/4 cup)
pinch dried thyme
pinch dried sage
pinch dried parsley
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
180ml of milk (3/4 cup)
35g of plain flour (1/4 cup)

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First make the sauce.  Blitze all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.  Cook, stirring constantly, in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture boils and begins to thicken. Cook for several minutes over low heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required.  Set aside until needed.

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Preheat the oven to 420*C/425*F/gas mark 7.  Butter a 10 inch glass pie dish.   Stir together the broccoli and the chicken pieces.  Place into the pie dish.  Spread the sauce over top evenly.  Top with the cheese and then the cracker crumbs.   Dot with butter.

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Bake for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbling, heated through, the cheese melts and the top is golden brown.   Let stand for five minutes, then spoon out to serve.  Baked potatoes and a vegetable go very well with this.

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Calories:  301 per serving
Fat: 12.7g
Carbs:  16g
Protein:  29g

Marie Rayner
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  1. This looks interesting. I'm going to suggest it to my mum the next time we have chicken leftovers :)

  2. I think you will love it Laura! xo

  3. I have chicken leftovers but somehow I think this would not go down well. What a pity because I would love it.

  4. Replies
    1. You will have to give it a go dear friend! Xoxo

  5. Interesting, I don't remember ever having heard of Chicken Divan.

  6. Dinner tonight! My husband will love it.

  7. Amazingly delicious!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  8. I still make this also!!! Sometimes I cheat and used the tinned soup sometimes.

    1. Oh, I do too sometimes Jackie! It depends on how much of a hurry I am in at the time. It's fab both ways. I am not a tinned soup snob by any means! xo

  9. This is very similar to Best of Bridge "Classy Chicken" The kids loved it growing up but I think yours is a healthier version. I'm going to revisit it with my Costco BBQ chicken

    1. I have some of those Best of Bridge Cookooks Angharad! Thanks for the reminder. I am going to dig them out! I wish I had a Costco membership!

  10. Marie, the I had this dish the first time about 8 years ago when one of my aunts was visiting. I hadn't even hard of it before!!! It was delicious, but your recipe looks better...hehehe! i am making this later in the week. Thanks! Oh, I just noticed you are from Nova Scotia. I am from Newfoundland but have been living away in Spain for the past 18 years. Nova Scotia is such a beautiful place.

    1. I hope you enjoy it Julia! How exciting that you live in Spain now after having been born and bread on the "Rock." My parents were married in Tor Bay. (Not sure I spelled that correctly!) My father was in the air force. Spain is one country I have yet to visit, although a lot of British go there on Holiday and we had a Spanish nurse living with us for a year last year. (From Alicante) It's on my bucket list of places to go. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place, especially the Annapolis Valley where I am from and especially in the Autumn and the Spring! xo

  11. Hi Marie, What little spot in Nova Scotia? Just curious.

    1. The Heart of the Valley Patricia, a small town called Middleton. Xo


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