Chicken Divan

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 35 mins
  • Cook 40 mins

A creamy chicken classic, with Worcestershire and a dash of nutmeg.

According to Arthur Schwartz, the recipe for this dish probably originated in the 1930s at Divan Parisien on East 45th Street. Schwartz's adaptation uses both white and dark meat.

Ingredients

1 (4-5 pound) chicken
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large bunch broccoli, tops only, cut or broken into very small florets
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, approximately
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Add peppercorns and salt. Cover, place over high heat, and bring water to a boil. As soon as the pot boils, turn off the heat and let stand for 3 hours. Uncover the pot. Remove the chicken. Reserve broth for another use. (It may be kept for several days in the refrigerator, or for several months in the freezer.)
  2. Meanwhile, make a white sauce: In a small to medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk. Let bubble for about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let the bubbling stop. Beat in milk all at once. Return pot to heat and, stirring constantly with the whisk, bring mixture to a boil, at which point it should be thickened and smooth. Stir in nutmeg, sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer another minute. Stir in lemon juice. Cover and keep hot over very low heat.
  4. Remove the skin of the chicken and carve the breast, leg and thigh meat into neat slices. Whatever you cannot slice neatly, save for another purpose.
  5. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook broccoli until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain broccoli in a colander and then arrange it in one layer in a deep heatproof serving platter or in a shallow casserole or gratin dish.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle broccoli with about half the grated cheese. Arrange chicken meat on top of the broccoli.
  7. Whisk egg yolks into the white sauce. Fold in whipped cream. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.
  8. Place in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes, to heat through.
  9. For a final glazing, place the casserole about 5 inches below the broiler heat source, and cook until tinged with brown, about 3 minutes.

From Arthur Schwartz’ New York City Food (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004, www.stcbooks.com).

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