I had the girls coming for lunch so I fell back on a great English classic, Coronation Chicken. It really doesn’t get more retro than this!
With its gaudy yellow appearance – at its simplest, cooked chicken clad in a curry flavoured mayonnaise, at its original, a more complex recipe of cold chicken poached in seasoned wine, coated in a specially prepared curry, cream and mayonnaise sauce.
The original recipe was created in 1953 by Cordon Bleu cook Rosemary Hume for Elizabeth II’s coronation and fittingly named Poulet Reine Elizabeth. Hume and her friend, royal florist Constance Spry, ran a domestic science school at Winkfield Place, and it was their students who were bestowed the honour of producing a post Coronation lunch for the foreign delegates – it’s all about connections you know! The golden colour of the dish was chosen to reflect the splendour of the occasion, and what a glittering occasion it was despite the country still suffering post-war food rationing.
As the years have passed this dish has evolved into the common man’s throw-it-together version – a regular on the menu as a sandwich or jacket potato filler in tea shops, pubs or more traditional English restaurants, with the occasional recipe diversion of sultanas and flaked almonds.
Nostalgic British food has been enjoying a revival of late and many of our classic dishes have been ‘pimped up’ to cater for the modern taste. With England celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation this retro dish has been under the spotlight with some great culinary twists.
Here is my version with its subtle curry coloured hue which I served on a bed of finely sliced cucumber in a homemade wholemeal and granary roll flavoured with fennel seeds. This recipe will fill eight medium sized rolls. If you want a stronger curry taste you could add a little curry powder.
- 300g cooked, free range organic chicken – can be breast of dark meat
- ¼ cup half fat crème fraÎche
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 heaped tbsps curried pickle (I used a hot aubergine pickle)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
- Fresh coriander leaves to taste
- Seasoning – sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shred or chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Add all the other ingredients and combine – I add the coriander just before serving. Season.
Alternatively you can serve the chicken with rice salad and green salad as it was for the coronation or it is really yummy in a hot jacket potato!