Here in London, coronation fever is in the air! With just over two weeks until the coronation of King Charles III, the capital is preparing for a massive celebration with bunting and street parties galore.
While we don’t know what will be on the menu at the palace just yet, if you’re planning your own royal-themed party, Coronation Chicken Salad should definitely be top choice!
What is Coronation Chicken?
Created in 1953 by the founder of Le Cordon Bleu London, Rosemary Hume and writer Constance Spry, Coronation Chicken or ‘Poulet Reine Elizabeth‘ is made from chicken coated in a lightly curried mayonnaise sauce.
It was served at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation banquet and has been a staple of the British menu ever since.
Changing with the times
The original recipe for Coronation Chicken is very subtle in flavour. This is for two reasons, in the 70 years since the Queen came to the throne, our appetite for spice and intensely flavoured food has increased dramatically.
The recipe was also created while the United Kingdom was still under wartime rationing, so the ingredients were relatively frugal.
In the more modern spin on this British classic, the apricots or apricot jam of the original version have been replaced with mango chutney (a perfect partner for curry, naturally). Also, I’ve used Greek yoghurt instead of lightly whipped cream and white instead of red wine.
The wonderful thing about this recipe is you can adjust it to suit your tastes. Like it spicy? Use hot curry powder! Hate mayonnaise? This recipe works fine with yoghurt instead.
To make my easy Coronation Chicken recipe, you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken: a 1.25kg or 2 ½ lb. chicken will easily feed 4-6 people, depending on how far you stretch out the chicken mixture. I give the instructions in the recipe to poach the whole chicken. Still, you can also use chicken breasts, rotisserie chicken or even leftover chicken.
- Mayonnaise: I prefer to make my own mayonnaise as it gives the best flavour, but a good quality egg mayonnaise will work in a pinch.
- Greek-style Yoghurt: A thicker yoghurt helps keep the sauce from becoming too liquid. If you like, you can substitute the yoghurt with sour cream or crème fraiche.
- Mango chutney: Use the best quality mango chutney you can find, ideally one with plenty of flavour and a touch of spice.
- Curry Powder: Same as above, the better the curry powder you use, the tastier your final result.
- White wine, lemon juice and tomato paste: for flavouring the sauce.
How to serve Coronation Chicken
I like serving this classic dish as a salad, ideally with peppery greens like watercress and rocket. It also makes a truly delicious sandwich filling, or you can use it to stuff jacket potatoes.
Given that it has a lovely gently curry flavouring, Coronation Chicken can also be served with rice.
Important: Due to the mayonnaise in the recipe, it can only be served chilled or at room temperature. Heating the chicken will break the sauce.
I am MEGA excited to be studying at Le Cordon Bleu London right now!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Coronation Chicken in advance?
Yes, you can. Coronation chicken can be made 3-4 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Allow to warm up a little before serving.
Can I freeze Coronation Chicken?
I don’t recommend this recipe for freezing. The sauce tends to split, and I’m personally not a fan of the flavour of frozen poached chicken.
Can I make Coronation Chicken dairy free?
Of course! Just use an unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt alternative. I’ve not tried it, but coconut yoghurt might be an exciting twist!
More British Recipes!
Looking for more fabulous British recipes? Why not try my Perfect Roast Beef (with Yorkshire Puddings!) Planning a picnic or a party? Soft Boiled Scotch Eggs are sure to be eaten up first! Looking for a sweet treat? How about Gin and Tonic Jellies or Sticky Toffee Puddings?
Coronation Chicken Recipe
Created for the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry's famous recipe has been a firm favourite ever since. Perfect as a cold chicken salad, sandwich filling, or serving up at a coronation luncheon fit for a queen (or King!)
for the poached chicken:
- 1.25 kg (2 ½ lb.) whole chicken
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 onion, quartered
- small bunch of fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
for the curry cream sauce:
- 175ml (¾ cup) mayonnaise (fresh or store-bought)
- 4 Tbsp unsweetened Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp mango chutney
- 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 Tbsp mild curry powder
- 50ml white wine
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp tomato paste or tomato puree
- sea salt and black pepper
- small bunch of fresh coriander
- 50g sliced almonds, toasted
- salad greens, e.g., watercress, rocket
- POACH THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken in a large, heavy-based saucepan with all other poached chicken ingredients. Cover with cold water, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered for 1 hour, topping up the water as necessary to keep the chicken submerged.
- COOL CHICKEN: Remove from the heat, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool. Reserve the poaching liquid. (See notes).
- SHRED CHICKEN: When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken from the bones into bite-sized pieces. Chill until needed.
- MIX SAUCE: While the chicken is cooling, prepare the curry sauce. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yoghurt and mango chutney.
- TOAST CURRY: In a small saucepan, heat the oil and curry together until fragrant. Add the white wine and lemon juice and simmer for a few minutes until reduced. Allow to cool for a minute or two, then stir through the sauce, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
- COMBINE: Gently toss the cooled chicken and mayonnaise mixture until well combined, then refrigerate until needed.
- SERVE: To serve, divide the chicken between 4 plates, garnish with chopped coriander and almonds and serve with a green salad on the side. I often add a sprinkle of lemon juice just before serving to pep up the flavour.
- Once the chicken has been poached, it will keep in the fridge for several days, so you can prepare this recipe in stages if necessary.
- The poaching liquid is now a beautiful chicken stock! You can either strain it and reduce it further to concentrate all the chickeny goodness or use it as the base for a delicious soup.
- If you don't want to poach a whole chicken, use a cooked chicken or poach chicken breasts instead. To poach chicken breasts, place them in a closely fitting saucepan, cover them with cold water and aromatics per the recipe, and then bring them to a simmer. Put a lid on, turn the heat to as low as it will go, and cook very gently for 5 -10 minutes (depending on the breast size).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 plate
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 779Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 691mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2.6gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 62.7g
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