Chicken Divan a la Gus and Julia:
If you look at a google list of chicken divan recipes on the internet, you get some sad and silly results. Some of the top recipes posted by “famous” chefs use canned soups and other processed ingredients. When it is so easy to make from scratch, why would TV chefs use such things in a “recipe”. Campbells posted their recipe before them and it is gonna be just as good, so why bother?
On the other hand, if you want a good from scratch chicken divan recipe made in consultation with a) one of my favorite southern cooks (my aunt), and b) Julia Child, you’ve come to the right place.
2 whole chicken breasts
2 heads of broccoli
12-16 oz spaghetti
8 oz gruyere cheese
8 oz medium cheddar (or mild hoop cheese)
1 stick unsalted butter
4 cups whole milk
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne pepper
Breadcrumbs or crumbled corn flakes
Chicken. Cut 2 whole chicken breasts into long narrow strips and brown in the pan with 1 tbls butter. Remove from heat.
Broccoli. Blanch 1-2 heads of broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse in cold water.
Spaghetti. Boil 12 oz of spaghetti. Remove from heat, rinse in cold water and drain.
4 tbs butter, 6 tbs flour.
Grate the cheese and set to one side.
Heat 4 cups of whole milk and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil (you can microwave this).
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour froth for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the hot milk all at once. Beat hard with a whisk and blend until fine.
Set over medium high heat and stir until it comes back to a boil, boil for 1 minute.
Beat in ¼ to ½ cup of cheese: half medium cheddar and half gruyere, grated. Beat until melted and blended.
Remove from heat, add 1 tbls pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cayenne. Taste and adjust.
Casserole. In a casserole dish, spread the broccoli spears, spaghetti, and chicken in layers (in that order). Cover with remaining cheese. Pour the cheese sauce. Top with a thin layer of the breadcrumbs and the pimento strips. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and melted (everything is already cooked).