Chicken Baked in Almond Cream Sauce

Chicken Divan becomes Chicken Baked in Almond Cream Sauce

Serves 8

When Chicken Divan was invented it called for a Mornay sauce (a Béchamel sauce with cheese), but with the popularity of condensed cream of mushroom soup our sauce-making skills took a little nose-dive. By using an almond and cannellini purée, the convenience is preserved, but the highly processed soup is eliminated. By opting to use Romano cheese which is so strongly flavored, less is more.

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached, cooled and chopped
  • 11⁄2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into small florets, blanched 2 minutes and drained
  • 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1⁄2 cup grated Romano cheese, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1⁄2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspooon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup dried unseasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish and combine chicken and broccoli in it. In a blender, combine cannellini, 1⁄4 cup Romano cheese, almonds, sherry, onion, flour, mustard, salt, and pepper with 2 cups water. Purée until smooth. Pour over chicken mixture, tossing lightly. Combine remaining Romano with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over top. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Broil briefly if a more golden top is desired.