From The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes. Copyright © 2011 by Sheri Castle. Photographs © 2011 by Stewart Waller. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu
Never question the contents of your neighbor’s mail, trash, or casserole. Turkey Divan, once a regular on many family dinner tables, fell out of favor during the blight of bad casseroles, the ones that jumbled together whatever with a can of Cream of Something soup. For some people, canned cream soup is indispensable; for others, it is intolerable.
I like this simple Turkey Divan because it predates canned soup. It’s easy, filling, and open to variations. You can use leftover turkey or roasted turkey breast from the deli (the real thing, not slick sandwich meat). You can change the kind of cheese. You can use dry stuffing mix in place of the bread crumbs.
To make this a one-dish dinner, spread 2 or 3 cups of cooked rice in the bottom of the dish before you add the broccoli. By the way, if there is no time to make the whole dish, the cheese sauce (Step 3) is great poured over cooked broccoli.
· 4 cups broccoli spears or florets
· 3 cups bite-sized pieces of roasted turkey (about 12 ounces)
· 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
· 3 tablespoons instant flour or all-purpose flour
· 1 1/2 cups whole milk
· 1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 1/8 teaspoon paprika
· 1 1/2 cups soft, fresh bread crumbs (recipe in book)
· 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
2 Place the broccoli and 1/4 cup of water in a large glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender. (You can also cook the broccoli in a steam basket set over a saucepan of simmering water.) Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and set the bright green color. Pat the broccoli dry with paper towels and spread it across the bottom of the dish. Scatter the turkey over the broccoli.
3 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if the flour starts to brown. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring slowly, until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, and stir until smooth. Season with the salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli and turkey.
4 Toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the dish. Bake until the crumbs are browned and the sauce bubbles around the edge, about 30 minutes. If the crumbs start to brown too quickly, lay a flat sheet of aluminum foil over the top. Serve hot.