|From Laura's Sweet Spot|
I wish I could remember where I found this recipe, so I could give credit where credit is due, but for the life of me I just can't recall. Chicken Divan Casserole is an ideal comfort food for a chilly and dreary day, which we seem to be seeing a lot of lately (oddly alternating with unusually warm days this year). Unlike classic chicken divan, this casserole has a layer of bread cubes on the bottom, which I happen to like. The recipe calls for ciabatta bread, but substitute any leftover crusty bread you have. Use fresh broccoli if at all possible, as it just has a better texture. My favorite short cut is to buy microwaveable pre-packaged broccoli florets, which saves on prep time and effort. If you don't have buttermilk you can use all regular milk, although I love the tang that buttermilk adds to this dish. And use any good melting cheese you like in the sauce. This recipe is extremely flexible. It is also quite easy, tasty, and satisfying, making it a worthy addition to any recipe collection!
Chicken Divan Casserole
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1 1/2 C. each 2% milk and buttermilk
2 C. casserole cheese blend (Cheddar, American, Monterey Jack, and mozzerella)
8 oz. ciabatta bread, cubed
20 oz. broccoli florets, cooked
12 oz. cubed cooked chicken breast
4 T. butter, melted
1 C. panko bread crumbs
Melt 4 T. butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook about one minute. Slowly add the milks, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until smooth.
Layer the bread cubes, broccoli, and chicken in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over. Combine the melted butter and panko and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6.