Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sofa's Choice

Does anybody remember Chicken Divan? ("Chicken Divan" is French for "Chicken Sofa," or "Couch Chicken," if that helps to jog your memory.)
We had some leftover rotisseried chicken, and a pretty bunch of broccoli from the garden, and if that doesn't say Chicken Divan, then maybe it says chicken soup, or chicken-broccoli salad, or chicken-broccoli pasta, or...
But no. We wanted the Chicken Divan. And what better place to look up a retro recipe than the Joy of Cooking?
Except the 1997 version of Joy of Cooking is free of Chicken Divan. It has been expunged. Hopelessly passé, I guess.
I had to refer to my previous edition of the Joy, which I'm glad I kept. It's the version with instructions on how to clean and hang venison, how to cook squirrel, how to concoct "quick soups" (hint: a can opener will be necessary).
Ta da! There it was. Chicken Divan. Basically, cooked chicken layered in a casserole, covered with slightly steamed broccoli, and drowned in a cheese sauce, aka Sauce Rebecca de Mornay. In a twist new to me, this old recipe suggested building the casserole atop a layer of buttered toast (optional), and I liked the idea. All your basic food groups in a single pan. Bake for half an hour, and you got a meal that will last you all day long.
Cranky was totally game for this dish. But he dreaded to think how bland it was going to taste.
It didn't taste bland. At all. First of all, the rotisseried chicken is first-rate, and is heavily seasoned with herbs. Second, the broccoli from our garden is sweet and rich and vivid — terroir de Marin.
Finally, the Rebecca de Mornay sauce was made with two, no, three kinds of cheese, and jacked up with a teensy hit of habanero powder.
Was it old-fashioned? I guess so, but I say Bring Back Chicken Sofa!
Delicious.

30 comments:

peter said...

Oy, sofa's choice should be the title of my post tonight.

And I totally thought of the de Mornay sauce joke the other day too...

Are you warrantlessly wiretapping my brain? And when oh when will you rejoin us in the 21st century? It's like "Mad Men: Kitchen Confessions" all up in here.

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

I laughed so loud at your headline that co-workers came over to see. (We all agree you're brilliant)

and the new overall tagline? fab also. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: We're grooving on each others vibes. I dig, daddy-o! Another glass of Mateus? I'm hip.

cookiecrumb said...

Anita: Ohgod, I LOVE to have an appreciative audience. Thank you, thank you.
xoxo

Zoomie said...

My mother used to make this dish with a layer of ham between the toast and the chicken, topped with Hollandaise rather than cheese sauce. Also dated. Also delicious!

Love the wordplay, Kiddo, you're the best!

dancingmorganmouse said...

Yummo, what a shame we've already used the leftover roated herby chook for risotto. Nothing wrong with the odd retro dish - Shh, don’t tell a soul but I like Steak Dianne!

Alecto said...

Yes yes! Save the old versions of Joy of Cooking because where else will you learn how to clean and cook a possum? (you think I'm kidding) I actually have three versions and the oldest was probably purchased in 1982. It's falling apart. It may be missing pages. I loves it. I looks up this sofa business and get to work. I'm in so much trouble for feeding people mushrooms this week that it can only be up from here!

dancingmorganmouse said...

Roasted chook obvy, I hate to think what a roated chook would look like!

Alecto said...

(yikes! dancingmorganmouse I made steak diane last night! there were shrooms in it. I'm still in trouble.)

Vicki said...

Looks deliciously comforting. And I swear I have the same baking dish - Descoware in orange?

Mary Coleman said...

This is so you!! Love this. I've got some broccoli that needs a home and it just found it.

Dagny said...

Oh my. Next you'll be doing a post on Lobster Newhart.

Anna Haight said...

Oh, grown in Marin broccoli!! Guess what starts I put in pots a couple weeks ago! How long does it take to grow up here?? I'll have to bookmark this 'recipe' for later use. Yum! and I also love the word-play.

Anna Haight said...

PS -- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new tag-line!

B. said...

I wish I could say that I was unfamiliar with retro-style 'Real American' chicken divan. Unfortunately, I grew up on my mother's version: a package of Stovetop stuffing mix, some pre-shredded Cheddar-flavored plastic cheese product, a can of cream of does-it-matter? soup, a package of frozen broccoli, and boiled chopped chicken breast. Cooking? No. Assembling? Barely. Yours looks like food. Hers isn't.

Brittany said...

I haven't had this stuff since I was a wee tot. Thank you for reminding me of this insanely comforting dish. Perfect monthly timing, ifyouknowwhatImean...

dancingmorganmouse said...

oooh, I've just remembered Chicken a la King - woot!

Sam said...

sounds good to me. apart from the brocolli. Oh - but any veg when drowned in Mornay sauce is fine by me. We used to have "boiled eggs in Mornay sauce" when I was a kid. Yep - that was it. the entire meal.

Greg said...

That second photo is the money shot!Two hours to lunch and you're making me hungry.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Wow, Chicken Divan Cordon Bleu! Snazzee. I'm not sure I would attempt Hollandaise sauce. :)

Morgan: Retro is the new, um... Help me out here...
Steak Diane. I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is. Do you set it on fire?

Alecto: I simply don't understand how one can be in trouble for feeding people mushrooms. Cranky even wanted to put mushrooms in the sofa dish.
I love old cookbooks. I have most of my mom's.

Vicki: You are looking at my favorite new dish, which I have owned for almost 30 years. I just didn't get around to using it much. It is Le Creuset. Orange, yes.

Mary Coleman: How well you know me. Get on it!

Dagny: Repeat after me -- BOB Newhart, lobster NEWBERG. :D

Anna: Brava! It'll take a while. I think ours have been in the ground for well over a couple of months. We're having a skimpy crop, alas. But it loves to grow in winter. Good luck!!
PS, thanks. xo

B: Ohgah, what a "convenient" version of Chicken Divan. I feel sorry for you. But your mom meant well, trust me. There was that damn Jetsons Era of EZ food prep, when it all fell apart, and it took us hippies to go back and reclaim cooking.

Brittany: Bingo! It's comforting. It just popped into our brains... because we had chicken and broccoli to use up. Sigh. :)

Morgan: Chicken a la King. That's all gooey, right? I'll have to look it up. Are biscuits involved? (Ooh, not Australian biscuits, which are digestives, I believe....)

Sam: The homegrown broccoli is a revelation. You'd like it. Sweet, not stinky. Mm.
Eggs in Mornay? Yikes! Of course, now I must have it.

Greg: It really was that good. There were no leftovers.

namastenancy said...

I agree with the general consensus - YOU ARE BRILLIANT! I have kept my old Joy of Cooking (clutches precious, tattered relic to bosom). I remember when the newer versions came out. I looked them over but was never tempted. Give me that old time cookin!
I just got back from Pescadero yesterday and I'm experimenting with making their green chili soup. I suspect that some of Joy's recipes with the cream, butter and other naughty ingredients will work very well. Plus the green chili peppers! How did we ever survive without chili peppers?

Zoomie said...

She had a blender Hollandaise recipe that always knocked their socks off, but was secretly easy...

cook eat FRET said...

but see? here's the rub

rebecca de mornay? she'd never eat her own sauce. have you seen thsat body?

total bitch, i'm sure...

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Aw, shucks, snuffle, no. But.
I'm laughing that you just got back from "Pescadero" when you obviously mean Duarte's. Have you tried the chile/artichoke half 'n' half soup? Eee!
Let me know how your experimentation works out.

Zoomie: Do you have the recipe? ;)

ceF: Rebecca de Mornay pretended to date Tom Cruise. I don't know if that makes her nice or stupid. But I'd lick her.

Sam said...

it's called "Eggs Mornay"

Sweet Bird said...

I want it.


I want it sooo bad.

cookiecrumb said...

Birdie: Yeah, you do want it. I want it too, but it's all gone. You can make it, you can!

Sam: Oeuf Corse!!!
I just looked up a recipe for Eggs Mornay; they're not even sliced! How quaint.

Jane said...

This is one of my favorite dishes--I'll try this recipe soon since it sounds better than the one I've been using!

Absolutely LOVE your sense of humor and puns! Sofa's choice--ROFLMAO

Jennifer Maiser said...

Oh my gosh ... mom used to make this for us all the time when we were kids. I had no idea it was called Chicken Divan. In fact, I think recently I was bugging mom about how to make "that chicken/broccoli casserole thingy". Must have soon.

cookiecrumb said...

Jen: Well, see, your mom's a class act. Funny she never told you the name of the dish.
But, then, my mom used to make Caesar salad all the time, and never told us the name. It was just food.
BTW, you can make Chicken Divan all by yourself, with just these hints.

Jane: You are far too kind!!! xoxo