GINNA PARSONS: Chicken Divan a hit on the first attempt

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

How exactly does one get to be 48 years old and never have tasted Chicken Divan? I can’t answer that. All I can say is I made it for the first time week before last and I can’t stop thinking about it.
The recipe below is adapted from a Paula Deen recipe. I know what you’re thinking. But actually, believe it or not, the recipe had only 2 tablespoons of butter in it, and I ended up omitting them.
I also used reduced-fat or light products where I could, and cut the mayonnaise from 1 cup to 1⁄4 cup, and the taste was still amazing.
Before I made this, I read about three dozen of the almost 500 reviews. One thing the majority of folks were adamant about was the curry powder – it’s a must in the recipe. It’s apparently what makes Chicken Divan, well, Chicken Divan.
A couple of people said they omitted the white wine and I almost did, too, because I didn’t think I had any in the house. But in the end, I ended up with some Chardonnay I found and I liked the added layer of flavor. If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute chicken broth.
Technically, I don’t think this is supposed to be served over anything, but I put it over cooked white rice. A side salad rounded out the meal. Charlie and the kids both enjoyed it as well, and the leftovers were equally good.

Chicken Divan
2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped broccoli
6 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup soft bread crumbs
Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl, combine the soups, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well. Pour mixture into a greased 9×13-inch casserole. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
Serves 8.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.