Chicken Divan

Source: Saveur Magazine, Dec 2006

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 13-15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool slightly. Cut chicken lengthwise on the bias into 1/4"-thick slices and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, put broccoli into a large pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until barely tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside. (NOTE: suggest cooking broccoli only 1-2 minutes in boiling water then drain and cool in cold water. Otherwise gets too soggy, especially for leftovers.)
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Rub the inside of a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 T butter; set aside. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in stock and milk while whisking constantly. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, sherry, nutmeg, and half the cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove cheese sauce from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Arrange broccoli in the prepared dish in a single layer; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Arrange chicken evenly over top; sprinkle with almonds. In a large bowl, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks; fold into sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Bake, with a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips, until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.