Classic Retro Curry Chicken Divan, circa 1970

Mom, like nearly every mom in the 1960s-70s made this dish for everyday dinner.  Not sure the origin of the recipe, but it or variations of it are found everywhere, and for good reason!

chicken divan

It is heavy and saucy and fattening and great when it is frigid outside. Some add breadcrumbs to the top; my mom did not and so I don’t either.  I tweaked my mom’s recipe by slicing the chicken breast, lengthwise, keeping the shape of the breast. She always served the whole breast, so that this was more of an entree, and not a casserole.  But the chicken breasts sold in grocery stores now are much, much larger than they were in the 1970s.  Anyway, this is delicious and (thanks mom!) why my kids love me. (Gets even better as a leftover, even cold!)

Chicken Divan
4 chicken breasts, boned, skinned
Pepper, to taste
4 tsp. butter
2 – 10 oz. packages fresh broccoli spears (or frosen equivalent)
2 cans 10.5 (oz.) Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup
1 c. Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
½-1 fresh lemon, juiced
2-3 tbsp. curry powder
2-3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese

Pepper chicken breasts and lay in a buttered baking pan. Dot with butter. Cover with a cookie sheet and bake at 325-350° F. for 20 min. The chicken should still be pink, or the end result will be too dry. Cool enough to slice in half lengthwise. Strain chicken broth and reserve.

Quickly poach broccoli (poach longer if fresh). Drain, then place broccoli in the bottom of large baking pan (this recipe will fill two 9 x 13″ glass baking pans). Top with the sliced, cooked chicken. Mix soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry well. The sauce will be thick (may be thinned slightly with the reserved chicken broth). Spread over chicken (a little under the chicken too). Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered at 350° F., until bubbly, about 25-30 min. Serves 6-8.


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