How To Make Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan has been around since the early 20th Century, when it was invented at the Divan Parisien Restaurant in the New York Chatham Hotel. So classic American dish is what I’m saying.

It’s been done with cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken … celery … broccoli … pretty much if Campbell’s makes it, someone has put it in this dish. My wife said she ate it nearly ever week her senior year of high school as her mother kept tweaking the recipe, trying to come up with the “perfect chicken divan”. Did she ever find it? I don’t know, she’s never made it for me. So my wife made it for me.

Of course we don’t do canned soup, so she had to use the home made creamy asparagus soup from the day before.


6 chicken thighs
4 chicken breasts
1-2 pounds broccoli florets
1 cup mayonnaise
4 cups creamy asparagus soup
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
stuffing mix, croûtons or bread crumbs (see below)


Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and cook over high heat with a little olive oil or bacon fat. (If you use extra virgin olive oil, go with low temperature. I use pomace, so I can go hot.)

While that’s cooking, butter a large casserole dish. I’m using the Mario Batali 13 x 9 extra-deep lasagna pan— because I like overkill.

Arrange the cooked chicken in the bottom, then cover with the broccoli. (You don’t need to cook it first. In fact this was still frozen when she added it.)

Most people dice the broccoli into smaller pieces, but our girls like big chunks.

In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, soup, lemon and curry and whisk together.

Pour the soup mix over the chicken and broccoli, then add the bread crumbs.

NOTE ON STUFFING MIX: Yes, I’m all about cooking from scratch. But it hasn’t always been this way. Which means we still have some stuff in the cupboards that has been there for … I don’t know, actually. Which means “quite a while” I guess.

And since some of these products have “Use By” dates measured in years, I can’t bring myself to throw them out. So every now and then we find some way to use up something that we wouldn’t buy today.

So anyway …

My wife melted the butter, but thought it didn’t look like enough for the large pan. She was about to add more, when we noticed how much liquid was left in the pan from the chicken. So the butter went in with that and stirred to pick up any flavor left baked onto the pan.

Then pour that over the bread crumbs. We didn’t go straight from the pan, because it would come out really fast and be hard to control. So first it went into a measuring cup so she could cover the bread evenly.

One thing we forgot (because it wasn’t written on the recipe card … yay for missing steps) was to cover this before baking. Cover with a lid or with foil before baking at 350° for 30-35 minutes.

Ours came out pretty crunchy. Tasted good, but it was supposed to be softer than this. You do still want a little crunch, though. So after it’s cooked, but it back in with the lid off for another 5 minutes or so until it gets a little browned on top.

If you diced up the broccoli, you might be able to lift out nice, square pieces, sort of like a lasagna.

We didn’t. So we got uneven servings that would drive food stylists nuts. Oh, and tasted really good.

And that’s it.