Can you believe it takes only 10 mins to make a royal dish? Coronation Chicken is the perfect recipe for a showstopping Spring picnic!
Coronation chicken was invented by writer Constance Spry and the founder of the famous Le Cordon Bleu cookery school Rosemary Hume, while preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The original dish used curry powder, as fresh curry spices were almost unobtainable in post-war Britain. It’s funny that such a simple recipe made its way into Buckingham Palace.
Nowadays you can easily find coronation chicken everywhere in UK, from supermarkets, deli shops to sandwich bars. Unfortunately, through the years this recipe has lost a bit of its charm, with so many ingredients and variations added, it looks now a really vague reinterpretation of the royal dish. To start with, the original recipe doesn’t contain a single sultana , only dried apricots, and the mayonnaise dressing is lightened with cream. I’ll stop here and spare you the long list of
frightening unusual ingredients I’ve found in coronation chickens eaten around the capital.
The Coronation Chicken salad I’ve made follows very precisely the original recipe, it’s only lighten up using light crème fraîche instead of whipping cream. Also, I love adding up some toasted almond flakes, they give an exceptional crunchiness to the dish. These are the only minor changes I’ve made, but you can follow the traditional route, just use fresh whipping cream and omit the almonds.
You can simply grill or steam the chicken breasts, but I prefer the original method and I cook them in a pot with water and various herbs & spices, This way I can save up all the chicken stock and use it for other tasty recipes. Poach the chicken breasts for 40 minutes in water with a carrot, a splash of wine, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and four peppercorns. Cool in the liquid, then cut into chunks and mix with the dressing. I usually cook the chicken the night before, and the next day my coronation chicken is ready in less than 10 mins.
This coronation chicken salad is also a great way to use left-over roasted chicken, and you can serve in so many different ways. plus it makes a great gluten free appetizer.
Pair it simply with a healthy salad for lunch, with rice and grilled vegs for dinner, or as a jacket potato & sandwich filling for comfort food cravings!
- 4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup light creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- ¼ cup /60ml red wine
- ¼ cup /60ml water
- 1 tbsp dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tbp almond flakes, toasted (optional)
- Heat a large frying pan with the oil over med-low heat.
- Add the onion, bay leaf and curry powder and gently cook for 2 mins.
- Add tomato puree, wine and water and bring to a boil.
- Add lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, then season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Simmer for 5 mins, then remove from the heat, strain the sauce and cool.
- Then stir into the mix the mayo, creme fraiche and chopped apricots.
- Lightly coat the chicken breast chunks with the dressing, fold the toasted almonds in and mix until just combined.
- Serve with salad, rice or as a filling for jacket potatoes and sandwiches. Enjoy!