Friday, 13 December 2013

Chicken Divan

Do you remember, pre-paleo, that chicken and rice and broccoli and cheese casserole that called for a can of mushroom soup?

I do.

Don't you miss canned mushroom soup?  I do.

It was the canned mushroom soup that was the most troubling to replace, in my opinion.  I'm dreaming of a paleo-ified version of mushroom soup that can be made ahead of time, and frozen, so my teen can heat-and-serve it when she wants it.  I'm almost there.  Almost.  The "freezer-friendly" is the part that's holding me up.

But meantime, do you know how to make a paleo-ified cream of mushroom soup?  At least a primal one? Boil regular mushrooms-and a few chopped dried mushrooms- in good beef broth for about 15 minutes, then add a bit of whole fat cream mixed with a bit of tapioca starch into it to thicken it at the end.  Seriously. That easy.  Who'da thunk it?

But as for paleo-ifying the casserole dish?  Nailed it.  One big happy comfort-food-fed family the night I made this.  And not too complex, either.

A couple of notes on this recipe--the dried mushrooms really intensify the mushroom-soup flavour.  I think they're critical to the recipe so don't skip this step.  As for the broth--home made beef bone broth makes the most authentic-tasting mushroom soup flavour, but who puts beef broth with chicken?  Apparently I do, but I understand if you want to use chicken broth here in this recipe.  If you do, you may want to add garlic powder and onion powder to the soup while you're simmering it for extra flavouring, and increase the dried mushroom amount a bit.

Feeds 5-6


1 onion, chopped
1 lb chicken breast or thighs, de-boned and de-skinned
2 bunches broccoli--I like to peel and use the stems, too
1/2 pkg mushrooms, chopped fine
2-3 dried mushrooms, any flavour you like
1 c broth, any flavour (but beef is best)
1 c cheddar cheese, divided, optional
1 Tbs tapioca starch or arrowroot flour
1 Tbs butter, for onions
approx 1/4 - 1/3 c whipping cream or coconut milk
1 tsp butter and 1/4 c almond flour/meal for topping (optional)


Ok, prep everything--chop onion, mushrooms, broccoli and chicken.  Grate cheese, if using.  Grind your dried mushrooms with a food processor/coffee grinder/spice grinder, or chop finely if you don't own any of these.  Pull out a frypan and heat it on medium.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a large casserole dish--or make things REALLY simple and use an oven-proof skillet.

Saute your onions in butter until they begin to turn translucent.  Add chicken, mushrooms, dried mushrooms and broth, cover and poach over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink--about 15 minutes to let mushrooms develop flavour.  While chicken is poaching, dissolve tapioca in about 1/4 c cream.  Add slowly to simmering chicken, stirring constantly as it thickens.  Add more cream if more liquid is needed, you want it to be about the thickness of cream soup.  Turn off the burner and add in half of your cheese.

Meanwhile, either microwave or steam your broccoli until just al-dente.  For mine, this meant 6 minutes in a microwave with a splash of water.  In a small bowl, mash together remaining butter, almond meal and cheddar.

Stir the cooked broccoli into the chicken mixture, then move it all into the buttered casserole dish.  Crumble your almond meal mixture over top.  Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes until bubbling through and golden ontop.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    I first want to say thank you for such wonderful work in creating your blog!

    I was wondering if you have tried these little known gluten free and paleo products: Miss Paleo Mixes. They have some more information on the website:

    If you'd like to try a sample to review on your blog, we'd be happy to send it! Feel free to email or contact me through my blog ( if you decide this is something that interests you.

    Thank you!