Chicken+Broccoli+Mushrooms+Creamy sauce = great comfort food. I have to say though, be prepared to get some dishes dirty. This is a simple recipe, but you will be using a lot of different pans, bowls and spoons. Now at least you can't say I didn't warn you!
I cut the recipe in half, fyi! Start by cutting chicken breasts in half, and then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook until they're cooked through, around 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes then cut into bite size pieces.
While chicken is cooking, cook broccoli in a large pot with salted water until just tender. Drain broccoli and set aside.
Ingredients you will be using. I was actually cooking in daylight, so I was excited to take some pictures that wouldn't be as dark as usual!
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk for a couple minutes. Add stock in a slow steady stream while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally, for around 10 minutes.
Beat cream with an electric mixer until it holds stiff peaks. Fold cream into sauce along with sherry (I substituted apple juice) and lemon juice. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to your taste.
Arrange broccoli evenly in bottom of a shallow baking dish, I used a 9x9 inch dish. Pour half the sauce over the broccoli. Mushrooms weren't part of the recipe, I added them on my own because I like mushrooms. I sliced around six mushrooms and put them in the pan with the broccoli.
I used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It looks like beautiful snow when it's grated. Add the cheese to the remaining sauce.
Arrange chicken over broccoli and pour remaining sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for around 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then turn the oven to broil, and broil until sauce is golden brown and bubbling, just around a minute.
Let sit for a couple minutes, as it will come out pretty hot. I don't want to be responsible for anyone burning themselves ;)
I served the casserole over potatoes; I thought it needed some kind of starch. I didn't do anything fancy with potatoes; chopped them into thin slices and cooked them in water on the stove. Since there's a sauce with the chicken, I didn't need to add anything to the potatoes, and it really brought everything together. I said this in the beginning and I'll say it again, it really reminded me of comfort food. Very simple ingredients, but a very rich dish. Some advice -- I had a little leftover and I put the potatoes and casserole all in one dish and it got a little runny. I would recommend keeping them separated so you don't have that issue when you go to reheat!
Have a "comfy" day!
Chicken Divan Casserole
1 1/4 pound boneless chicken breast
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bunch broccoli (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into small florets
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup medium dry sherry *I used apple juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup finely grated Parmigianino- Reggiano
6 mushrooms, sliced *optional
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add chicken.
Cook until cooked through, 8-12 minutes. Let stand for a couple minutes, and then cut into thin slices.
Meanwhile, cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, then drain.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add flour and whisk for around three minutes.
Add stock in a slow stream, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally for around 10 minutes.
Beat cream with an electric mixer until it holds stiff peaks.
Fold cream into sauce, along with sherry and lemon juice.
Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Arrange broccoli and mushrooms evenly in bottom of a shallow baking dish.
Pour half of sauce over broccoli.
Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan into remaining sauce.
Arrange chicken over broccoli and pour reaming sauce over chicken.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake for around 15 minutes, just until it's hot.
Turn oven to broil and broil until sauce is golden brown and bubbling, around one minute.
Let cool for a couple minutes, then serve.
*You can make the casserole a day ahead of time, and keep covered in the fridge.