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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my sweet friend, Raia, author of Raia’s Recipes. Raia is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom of five crazy kids. After the birth of her third child, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. This discovery turned her bread and pasta-filled life upside down and set her on a mission to find out what healthy meant for her family. Aspiring to encourage other moms, she started her blog filled with simple, easy, healthy dishes. Stop by Raia’s Recipes to get plenty of real food, gluten-free recipes and much more!}

Every year around the holidays I get a craving for the food my mom made growing up.

When I’ve been cooped up indoors due to weather or I’m dealing with frazzled nerves from too much to do, nostalgic comfort food will fix it every time.

Chicken divan was one of my mom’s specialties. And being the from-scratch, whole-foodie that she was, there were no frozen something, leftover something, or instant cream-of-something soups in her recipe. (Not that I have an issue with organic frozen veggies or using leftovers!)

Just plain, simple, whole food with a tasty homemade sauce.

I can still remember the excitement I felt watching her prepare it and the anticipation of cheesy, slightly crunchy broccoli on my plate. Even today, it’s my favorite way to eat broccoli (and I still taste the anticipation when I’m the one making it)!

When I married and began a family of my own, I was a little nervous to carry on my mom’s chicken divan tradition, but my fears were in vain. Though this meal was a holiday treat in our house, chicken divan is a fairly simple dish to make. It’s basically just chicken and broccoli, baked in a cheesy white sauce. Not much to it, but so much flavor!

Grain-Free Chicken Divan

I like to use dark meat for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you want, just make sure to keep the skin on! It adds a wonderful texture and taste when combined with the cheese sauce and Parmesan/herb topping.

Grain-Free Chicken Divan
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • 2 lb. skin-on chicken (drumsticks, thighs, leg quarters, or breasts), preferably bone-in
  • 1 head fresh broccoli
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. tapioca flour
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • ½ c. shredded white cheddar cheese
  • s & p to taste
  • 2 T.+ grated Parmesan
  • ½ t. oregano
  • 1 t. parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Fill a large pot with water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and set timer for 10 minutes. When time is up, drain out chicken and place in a 9x13 inch dish.
  3. While chicken is boiling, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When melted, whisk in tapioca starch. Turn heat to medium-high and pour in a cup of the stock. Stir until smooth and thickened, then add another cup. Repeat until all the stock is added and sauce is thickened. Stir in cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper.
  4. Slice broccoli lengthwise and place in baking dish with the parboiled chicken. Pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parmesan, oregano, and parsley.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and broccoli and chicken are cooked through.
Notes
If you don't want to parboil the chicken, simply bake the dish for 1 hour.

If you find your sauce is too lumpy, pour it into a blender and pulse until it's smooth.
 

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