How to make coronation chicken fit for a queen
Now a popular filling for sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes, coronation chicken wasn’t always the modern dish we know and love today. While modern recipes prioritise speed and simplicity, the original recipe is practical, ambitious, and can take some time and tender care.
Coronation chicken was first served at the banquet of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation celebrations in 1953. The dish symbolises post-war Britain at a pivotal moment, where food was sparse and rationing was common in many households around Britain.
At the time, it was seen as quite an exotic meal due to the flavourful ingredients required, yet quickly became a national favourite thanks to its easy preparation – a particular highlight for households with no servants.
The original recipe was created by popular 1950s cooks Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry, and subsequently published in The Constance Spry Cookery Book a few years afterwards. After the Queen’s coronation aired live on TV, Hume and Spry hoped the recipe would become a popular dish not only within the Royal household, but among the British people too. And it certainly seems to have left a lasting impression considering how many are familiar with the dish almost 70 years later!
Coronation chicken can be served hot or cold – and if you choose the latter, it’s an excellent way to make use of leftover chicken from a roast! Said to have been served to Her Royal Highness “arranged at one end of an oblong dish”, with rice and salad at the other, prepare to feel like royalty with this meal fit for a queen.
Read on to learn how to make yourself a splendid coronation chicken dish this spring.
Recipe serves 6-8 (cold)
- 2 young roasting chickens
- Bouquet garni
- Salt and peppercorns
- A little wine
- Cream of curry sauce (see below)
- Poach the chickens with the carrot, bouquet garni, salt and peppercorns in water and a little wine, enough to barely cover, for about 40 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool in the liquid.
- Joint the birds and remove the bones with care.
- Prepare the curry sauce.
- Mix the chicken and the sauce together. Then, arrange on a dish and coat with extra sauce.
For the curry sauce:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 oz finely chopped onion
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 1 glass red wine
- ½ glass white wine
- Salt, sugar and a touch of pepper
- Slice of lemon and squeeze of lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp apricot purée
- ¾ pint mayonnaise
- 2-3 tbsp lightly whipped cream
- A little extra cream
- Heat the oil, add the onion and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook again for 1-2 minutes. Add the purée, wine, water and a bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then add salt, sugar, pepper and the lemon juice and lemon to taste. Simmer with the pan uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Strain and cool.
- Add the mayonnaise and apricot purée bit by bit to taste. Adjust seasoning, adding a little more lemon juice if necessary. Finish with the whipped cream.
- Take a small amount of the sauce (enough to coat the chicken) and mix with a little extra cream and seasoning.
- The rice salad that accompanied the chicken consisted of carefully cooked rice, peas, diced raw cucumber and finely chopped mixed herbs, all mixed in a well-seasoned French dressing.
Don’t forget, a great meal isn’t complete without the right design. Dress your table to impress with the Arthur Price For The Table Pair of Tall Candlesticks and Arthur Price For The Table Drinks Mat.
The Queen’s Jubilee celebration is also the perfect occasion to bring out your Arthur Price Signature Cutlery, especially if you’re hosting a dinner party, and if you’re treating your guests to a delightful cake dessert, it’s a great time to use your Arthur Price Cake Lifter and celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in style.
If you try this recipe for yourself, make sure to send us a photo on social media!
Recipe taken from The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, JM Dent Books, 1956