Chicken Fit For A Queen

If you were cooking a meal to serve to a Queen at her Coronation, what would you choose? A combination of curry and mayonnaise? No, I thought not. Strangely enough, that is exactly the dish that was chosen to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and served for lunch on that special day 60 years ago.

As outlined in my post A Taste of India, the Brits love their curry, but this recipe is now regarded as rather old-fashioned. It holds a special place in my heart as it has a distinctive flavour, reminiscent of childhood parties, so I decided to reignite this classic at my Jubilee Garden Party the weekend before last.

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but if a subtly sweet, creamy, curry appeals to your taste buds, then you should give this a whirl! Thanks BBC Food for this recipe… It’s not far off the version my mother makes.

Coronation Chicken

Serves: 12 as a side dish, 6 as a main

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5kg/4lb free-range chicken breasts
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 85ml/3fl oz red wine
  • 150ml/¼pint water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 slices lemon
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 425ml/15fl oz good-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp apricot purée (made by blending 4-5 stoned, dried apricots with 3 tbsp water)
  • 3 tbsp whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

METHOD

  • Slice the chicken into bite sized chunks and place into a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cover with water and add the spring onions, garlic, salt and peppercorns.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Cover with a lid and switch off the heat. Leave for one hour, then remove the chicken, allow to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook for a further two minutes, stirring well. Add the tomato purée, wine, water and bay leaf.
  • Bring the mixture to the boil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the sugar, lemon slices and lemon juice, to taste. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes.
  • Gradually fold in the mayonnaise and apricot purée, to taste. Add more lemon juice, as necessary.
  • Fold in the whipped cream.
  • To serve, combine the chicken and sauce, sprinkle with the coriander.

I served this as a cold side dish at a picnic. It is traditionally paired with rice, but you could also have on a baked potato or simply with a green salad if you are trying to be low carb.

2 thoughts on “Chicken Fit For A Queen

  1. Am laughing my head off as I was a teenager just beginning to cook and trying to do this recipe the first time around :) ! Great fun that you have recorded it here: methinks ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ kind’of applies here! Perchance one try for me sufficed!

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