Coronation chicken was an original recipe first served at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation lunch in 1953. Alongside the chicken, they served a side of rice mixed with chopped herbs and peas, and French dressing. It was all presented on an oval plate with the chicken at one end and the rice at the other.
The food was served cold at the coronation because it had to be a dish that could be made ahead. It is enjoyed the same way today which makes it perfect for warm weather, outdoor eating and picnics.
It is essentially the British version of the American chicken salad with a royal flair and a few surprises.
This coronation chicken is so good, maybe it was this that enticed the queen out of ceremony. Story has it, the queen was bored at the extra-long ceremony that she, along with her ladies-in-waiting, snuck into the back of the ceremony to enjoy some of the coronation chicken.
I’m not sure how much truth to that there is considering the magnitude of the event. Could the new queen disappear without notice?
A whole chicken is poached with herbs and aromatics. To make the recipe in a hurry, you could make perfect use of leftover roast chicken. The chicken is mixed in a curry-based, mayonnaise sauce that also has tomato paste, red wine, and fresh lemon.
Rosemary Hume is responsible for this recipe and it was also featured in the 1956 Constance Spry cookery book, written by both ladies.
Constance Spry, being a florist, was responsible for the coronation flower arrangements. Rosemary Hume was a cook and writer, as well as a teacher at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. I would say she was the best person to cook for the new queen, wouldn’t you?
With its vibrant and stunning yellow hue from the curry powder, this coronation chicken keeps well refrigerated. Make it ahead for an on-the-go or work lunch, it’s great in sandwiches.
Once made, the longer the chicken sits, the better it tastes, as the flavors have time to develop. This is one of my favorite chicken recipes and it’s a dish fit for a queen!
Coronation Chicken Recipe
- 3 Whole Chicken
- 1 Fresh Parsley
- 1 Fresh Thyme
- 4 Carrot
- 2 Bay Leaf
- 1 Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 Vegetable Oil
- 0.5 Onion chopped
- 1.5 Mild Curry Powder
- 1 Tomato Paste
- 0.25 Red Wine
- 0.5 Water
- 0.5 Salt
- Black Pepper
- 1 Lemon Juice
- 1 Apricot Jam
- 3 Mayonnaise
- 1 Slivered Almonds
- Add the chicken, parsley, thyme, carrots, bay leaves and peppercorns to a large stock pot.
- Cover with water, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, add oil to sauté pan and heat over medium heat.
- Add the onion until softened, about 5 minutes, stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in tomato paste, wine, water, salt, pepper, lemon juice and apricot jam, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Allow the sauce to cool.
- When the chicken is done, remove from the pan and allow to cool until it can be handled.
- Once cooled, cut up the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Mix the mayonnaise into the curry sauce, then stir in the chicken pieces. Refrigerate until cool.
- Serve topped with toasted flaked almonds.