Chicken and Broccoli Divan over Nutty Rice

Prep Time:
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves: 6

This updated casserole demands a place on the dinner table. Its unique preparation of brown rice, pecans, and sesame seeds is delicious paired with the traditional broccoli, cheese, and chicken flavours.


1 lb (0.5 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast(s)
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) margarine
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, fresh
3 tbsp (45 mL) whole wheat flour
2 cups (500 mL) 1% milk
1 tsp (5 mL) tarragon, dried
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) black pepper, freshly ground
4 cups (1 L) broccoli
1 cup (250 mL) part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup (250 mL) short grain brown rice
1 tbsp (15 mL) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (60 mL) pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) paprika


1 Dice boneless skinless chicken breast into 1" squares. Melt margarine or butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee chicken until golden brown. Remove chicken, sprinkle with fresh squeezed lemon juice and set aside.
2 Whisk flour into pan juices; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to brown flour. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened (i.e., coats the back of a spoon). Remove from heat; stir in tarragon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and half the grated cheese.
3 Remove ends from fresh broccoli and cut spears. Quickly blanch in boiling unsalted water until just tender crisp.
4 Prepare the short grain brown rice according to package directions in unsalted water. The pecans and sesame seeds can be added at the beginning of cooking time.
5 Spray a 10 cup (2.5 L) oblong baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spread nutty rice over bottom of dish and top with the broccoli spears, cooked chicken, sauce and the remaining grated cheese. Sprinkle with paprika.
6 Bake uncovered in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling and lightly browned.