A Local Turkey Divan

In my Easter basket this month was a 1960’s copy of Better Homes and Garden’s New Cookbook. (Thanks Grandma!) I love looking through older cookbooks to find local possibilities. We’ve been using fresh local ingredients for ages and the good recipes are out there if we’re willing to look. The inside cover features an article of “why more than 2,000,000 women cherish this cook book.” It made me wonder how many women since then have used a copy.  The images are definitely from a by-gone era; I don’t know anyone that makes a 3 tiered gelatin mold anymore. This one made me laugh. Really hard. Pretty sure we could put her in the 2013 edition dressed in a power suit with an iPad. 

Take look at this family barbecue and try to remember the last time you saw someone in dress slacks at the grill! Really?!?!

When I flipped through the book this week I found a few recipes for locavore adaptation. One of these was for Classic Chicken Divan, a recipe with a little history. The “divan” comes from Divan Parisien, a famous 1950’s New York City restaurant who served the casserole as one its signature dishes. The restaurant no longer exists, but chicken divan became a favorite of American family cooks. It’s always made with chicken or turkey with broccoli, covered in a parmesan cheese sauce. If there’s anything generation after generation can agree on, it’s that everything is better covered in cheese.
For my own modifications, I used leftover turkey from a Ferndale Market bird we roasted the day before, skim milk instead of heavy whipping cream (it is bikini-prep time after all!) and a few tablespoons of local dry white wine (Try St. Pepin from Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls, MN). Still using the frozen broccoli from our stash last summer. Baked in 20 minutes. Boom. Easy local dinner.

Local Turkey Divan 

Adapted from Chicken Divan in BH&G New Cookbook, 1963


6 cups frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons of dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups of cooked turkey, cut into 1 1/2″ or larger pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9 x 13″ casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread broccoli in an even layer in bottom of baking dish.
2. Melt the butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Using a whisk, blend in flour until golden and bubbly. Gradually stir in chicken broth and continue stirring until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat to low and add in milk, wine and salt.
3. Remove from heat and pour half the sauce over the broccoli. Return saucepan to the stove and add parmesan cheese to remaining sauce. Stir until melted.
4. Spread turkey pieces over broccoli and sauce in an even layer. Top with remaining parmesan sauce. Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese if desired.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.