Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chicken Divan Pizza

Yes - that's right, pizza. See...
I'm always wary of saying I came up with this recipe on my own since it seems everything is just a variation of something else. I mean I obviously didn't come up with the Chicken Divan part on my own - I've been eating Chicken Divan ever since my baby brother was born. In fact, I remember the very first time I ever had Chicken Divan. My mother had just given birth to my baby brother via c-section and had to stay over at the hospital for an extra couple of days. Therefore, my father and I were on our own at home, which was probably pretty stressful for my dad since my mom was a homemaker and he worked all the time. He wasn't used to taking care of the daily minutia of a five-year-old ie me, so even small tasks like brushing my hair were difficult. And it didn't help that I was quick to tell him that almost everything he did, including brushing my hair, was done wrong. To me if it wasn't done "mom's way" it was the wrong way. When it came to cooking, the only thing he really knew how to make was pasta and eggs, which seems to be every man's mantra in the kitchen.
Fortunately for us, our very generous neighbors came over armed with numerous casseroles to get my dad and I through those couple of days - and to help my mom out for the first week when she got home with my baby brother. One of those such casseroles was Chicken Divan. It was, in my opinion, the best of the lot. I thought the hamburger casserole was going to be my favorite, but chicken divan easily trumped it. My dad enjoyed it as well so my mom quickly learned how to make it and it became part of her monthly rotation of weeknight classics.
It's a simple dish - baked chicken and broccoli smothered with a creamy curry-scented mushroom sauce. The traditional version uses mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, curry powder, lemon juice and cheddar cheese. It's not low-cal by any means, but it sure is tasty.
So while I was trying to decide what to make for dinner the other night, I realized I had all the trappings for the perfect chicken divan. Except for the mushroom soup. Then I thought - what if I put chicken divan on top of a pizza and smothered it with tons of shredded cheddar?? Let me tell you, it was one of the best "lightbulb moments" I've ever had. I lightened up the sauce and went to town. This was literally one of the best specialty pizzas I've ever had.
Not to mention, that it brought me back to my childhood and that particular moment when I was introduced to my baby brother and chicken divan. Enjoy!

Chicken Divan Pizza
source: various Chicken Divan sauce recipes and me
1 Boboli thin crust pizza shell
1 large chicken breast
2 cups of broccoli florets
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

For the Divan sauce:
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup of skim milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place your chicken breast on a baking sheet, coat with 1 tablespoon of your olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then sprinkle 1 clove of minced garlic down on top of the chicken.
In a separate baking dish, place your broccoli florets. Toss with the remaining olive oil and the other 2 cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven with your chicken.
Allow the chicken and broccoli to cook for about 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, but not dry.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, you can slice or shred up your chicken into bite size pieces.
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt your butter and then whisk in your flour to form a roux. Allow the butter and flour to cook for about 1 minutes, with constant whisking, over medium low heat. Whisk in your skim milk. Once the mixture begins to thicken, whisk in your curry powder, mustard and lemon juice. Once combined, season with salt and pepper to taste (don't make it too salty because you will get a lot of salt from the cheese and then any Parmesan you top your pizza with). When you have a thick sauce, remove from the heat.
Time to arrange your pizza!
Place your pizza shell on a pizza pan. Pour down the divan sauce to cover the shell, put as little or as much as you want. I like a saucy pizza so I laid it on pretty thick. Next top the sauce with your chicken and broccoli. Finally sprinkle down your shredded cheddar cheese and throw that baby into your still hot 350 degree oven. I like to cook it at 350 for 10 minutes and then bump up the heat to 425 for the last 5to 10 minutes to get a crispness on the cheese and crust. That's just my personal preference though. If you like a softer pizza then cook it on 350 for 15 minutes. Remove, slice and enjoy with crushed red peppers and Parmesan cheese.


Cate said...

Fabulous idea! My mom always made turkey divan with our leftovers from Thanksgiving, and I loved it but would never think to try it as pizza. Genius!

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful idea. I've never had Chicken Divan but this pizza looks great. And what a great way to get veggies on a pizza!

Colleen said...

I think this looks like a WONderful idea! It's been starred!

That Girl said...

This sounds like something you'd get at California Pizza Kitchen. SO creative!

bensbaby116 said...

I don't know that I've ever had chicken divan, but it looks like something I would love! Yum.

Joelen said...

What a creative pizza topping!!

That Girl said...

Lisa - the deadline is tonight at midnight, but we were woefully low on participants, so if you can get it done this weekend I'll still accept it!