Easy Southern Style Chicken Divan is an iconic southern casserole that has been around for many years. In fact, there was a time many years ago when this delicious dish was served at almost every bridal or baby shower, neighborhood potluck dinner or church supper. It was also one of the first casseroles that every young southern bride learned to make and have in their arsenal of “company” dishes.
Easy Southern Style Chicken Divan is filled with succulent chicken, nutritious broccoli and covered in a dreamy, creamy bechamel sauce made with sharp white cheddar cheese and tangy sour cream. And if that isn’t enough deliciousness for you, it is then topped with a crispy, crunchy panko, butter, and cheese mixture that you will be tempted to just eat right off of the top.
I’m not sure exactly when chicken divan casseroles fell out of favor. It may have been because several versions of the recipe contained cream of chicken or mushroom soup and many cooks started avoiding the “cream of” soups when it became in vogue to cook from scratch. And to be truthful, this dish is rich and relatively high in calories so it is not something you would eat every night of the week. Of course, you can keep the calorie count down by simply having a smaller portion, and it does supply almost half of your vitamin C daily requirement.
And, I’ll bet you haven’t heard of this old reliable and flavorful casserole in a long time, much less served it. That said, I’m hoping to change that because Easy Southern Style Chicken Divan is truly a tasty and easy casserole to make. I promise it’s not a stretch to call this dish awesome! It’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner, yet it’s an entree you would be proud to serve company. It can also be made up to a day ahead and just popped in the oven when you are ready to eat. And this recipe is quicker and easier than ever because I use a deli roasted chicken to save time.
If you would like to make Easy Southern Chicken Divan, you will need two large heads of fresh broccoli, butter, all-purpose flour, chicken broth, white wine (you can substitute chicken broth), sour cream, sharp white cheddar cheese, a deli roasted chicken, panko bread crumbs, lemon juice, and salt. Optional, curry powder.
To make this luscious entree, first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside.
Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in the butter, salt, and flour and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add chicken broth and wine, whisking the mixture constantly. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream and one cup of cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken, broccoli, lemon juice, and optional curry powder. Mix well until everything is well combined. Pour this mixture into a 9×13 baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and add it to the panko and remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Mix well.
Sprinkle this mixture over the casserole and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown.