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Turkey divan makes leftovers divine

One of the best things about the Thanksgiving holiday is enjoying the wonderful leftovers. Now, I don’t know about your post-turkey-day turkey, but mine usually has no legs, or thighs but lots of leftover breast. If that happens to your turkey too, then you’re going to love this week’s recipe: Turkey Divan.

We’ve got turkey, broccoli and mushrooms smothered in a cheesy creamy sauce, topped with crunchy buttery breadcrumbs to make a classic casserole.

Like most casseroles, Turkey Divan is perfect to stretch and use up leftovers. It’s also a saving grace for turkey breast that’s a little dry because we’re going to let it swim in a succulent sauce.

This comforting meal was named after the Divan Parisienne Restaurant at the Chatham Hotel in New York City where it was created as a signature dish in the 1950s. Made with chicken or turkey, it became a staple home recipe in the following decades. Unfortunately, most recipes call for canned creamed soups and heaps of sour cream and mayonnaise in place of a homemade cream sauce.

In my recipe, we’re going to make the sauce from scratch. This velvety sauce is affordable, versatile and a minimal effort to yield a dish that’s lusciously sublime.

The technique used for this sauce is a creamy bechamel sauce, but made right in the pan with the sauteed onions and mushrooms, then I add cheese. The beauty of this technique is you can use any kind of meltable cheese in the sauce and be successful. I used white cheddar and Parmesan, but you use any kind of cheddar, Monterey jack, Colby or Swiss.

This dish is traditionally made with broccoli, but you can substitute cauliflower, or a blend of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I’ve also added mushrooms. If you have mushroom hating people, you can omit them. Either the mushrooms or the people, I leave that to you.

And while Divan is delicious served alone, it is usually served over buttered egg noodles or rice.

If you don’t happen to have leftover turkey, feel free to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken; you can even use this recipe with pork or ham.

On the holiday celebrating gratitude, please know I am thankful for you, dear readers. I sincerely appreciate you. Happy Thanksgiving!

TURKEY DIVAN

What you’ll need:

1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets (5 cups)

6 tablespoons butter, divided

3 cups cooked turkey breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)

1/2 cup onion, finely diced

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 2 ½ cups)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk, warmed

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

1 cup crumb topping; see instructions below

Cooked egg noodles or rice, for serving, optional

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, simmer 1/2 cup water over medium-high heat, then add broccoli. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well to remove as much liquid as possible then transfer to your baking dish; set aside. Wipe out skillet and return to stove.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until lightly browned and heated through. Transfer to your baking dish with the broccoli, set aside.

In same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter, then add onion and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm milk in the microwave.

To skillet, add 1 more tablespoon butter and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and slowly add warm milk, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Gradually add grated cheese by the handful, allowing each handful to melt before adding the next.

Add Parmesan and Dijon and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour cheese and vegetable mixture over your turkey and broccoli, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle crumb topping over broccoli and turkey mixture. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve over noodles or rice.

To make crumb topping: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, with one cup total of any combination of the following lovely crunchy things: panko, Parmesan, cracker crumbs, breadcrumbs, potato chips, crispy fried onions, nuts or corn flakes.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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