A Coronation Chicken recipe fit for the Queen’s BirthdayJune 12, 2016
Remember; it’s Happy Birthday Ma’am like jam not Ma’am like arm.
Coronation chicken has a bit of a sad and sorry reputation of late. In 1953, when the world was shiny and new and the English working class had scarcely heard of curry powder, let alone cooked with it, Coronation chicken was an exotic dish indeed. The original Coronation chicken recipe was conceived by Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry for Elizabeth II’s Coronation lunch, and was formed with a cooked base of tomato purée, wine, water, and bay leaf, along with mayonnaise and curry powder.
The recipe was widely published for British subjects to imitate, but with post-war rationing still in place, a lot of exotic ingredients wouldn’t have been available to commoners. As a result, some of the more pricey ingredients were substituted, for example apricot purée with raisins. Instead of a warm dish served with rice, the suburban rendition of the dish was served as a sandwich filling. You can see how the gradual decline in glamour led to this (admittedly odd) recipe falling out of favour.
In honour of Liz’s un-birthday, we’ve had a crack at an Un-Coronation chicken recipe. Instead of raisins, we’ve gone for beautiful bursting red grapes, fresh celery and delicious toasted almonds. Greek yoghurt lifts some of the stodginess of all mayonnaise, and served it all up as more of an English picnic style bruschetta than a soggy Tesco sandwich. All in all, we think it’s a delicious option for a family picnic (yes, we know it’s winter, but the English call this weather balmy anyway).
A Coronation Chicken recipe for the Queen’s Birthday
- 2 Tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1 ½ Tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp medium hot curry paste (we used a Korma)
- 2 Tbsp mango chutney
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- ½ lemon, juiced and zested
- About 400g cold poached chicken
- 150g red grapes, cut in half
- 2 – 3 celery stalks, sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the garnish
- Celery leaves, picked
- Toasted flaked almonds
- 1 loaf sourdough bread
To Poach the chicken
- In a medium pot, place the chicken with a bay leaf, some pepper, salt and lemon skin. Cover the chicken completely with cold water, then slowly bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
- Allow to simmer for 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool completely before using.
For the Coronation Chicken
- In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, mayonnaise, curry paste, chutney, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice and zest.
- With clean hands, shred the chicken and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Add grapes and celery and season to taste.
- To serve, heap a generous amount of Coronation Chicken onto freshly sliced sourdough, then top with celery leaves and toasted flaked almonds.
- Sit back, enjoy, and think of England!
Happy Un-Birthday Ma’am!