Divine Chicken Divan

"It feeds a crowd so easily," Nancy says, "and my family is one big crowd!"
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish 

Kosher salt

1 large head broccoli, cut into 1- to 2-inch florets, tender stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 5 cups)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons dry sherry (or chicken broth)

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper

1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)

1 cooked 3 1/2-pound chicken, meat removed and cut into chunks, skin and bones discarded (3 to 3 1/2 cups meat)

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and almost tender (you still want it to have a little bite; it will cook more in the oven). Drain; cool under cold running water and pat very dry. Set aside.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the sage and let sizzle a minute, then add the flour. Cook the roux (or else it will taste like raw flour), whisking, for 2 to 3 minutes, without letting it brown. Pour in the sherry (or broth) and cook to reduce it away, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup broth, the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally to get out any lumps, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the scallions and gruyere until the cheese is melted, then remove the sauce from the heat.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the sauce, broccoli, chicken and almonds until thoroughly coated. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave, then toss with the parmesan and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole. Bake until browned and bubbling, about 35 minutes.