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Coronation Chicken


Pieces of cooked chicken meat in a curry-flavoured mayonnaise, devised to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Originally a salad dish, now most commonly used as a sandwich filler.

A Buckingham Palace Press Statement of 25 May 2003 explains that "Coronation Chicken was invented for the foreign guests who were to be entertained after the Coronation. The food had to be prepared in advance, and Constance Spry, who also helped with floral arrangements on the day, proposed a recipe of cold chicken in a curry cream sauce with a well-seasoned dressed salad of rice, green peas and mixed herbs. Constance Spry's recipe won the approval of the Minister of Works and has since been known as Coronation Chicken."

Constance Spry's receipt was not published until 1956 in the Constance Spry Cookery Book. The original receipt calls for grilled chicken pieces in a sauce of pureed fried onions with curry paste, tomato puree, red wine, bay, lemon juice and apricot puree folded into whipped cream and mayonnaise, served chilled as a salad with watercress.

See also: Jubilee Chicken

Original Receipt from the Constance Spry Cookery Book

Ingredients (Serves 8):
2.3kg (5lb) chicken
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small, finely chopped onion
1 tbsp curry paste
1 tbsp tomato puree
100ml red wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 lemon juice
4 finely chopped apricot halves
300ml (1/2 pint) Mayonnaise
100ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream
Salt and pepper
Watercress to garnish

1) Skin the chicken and cut into small pieces and grill it until cooked.
2) In a small saucepan, heat the oil, add the onion and cook for about three minutes, until softened.
3) Add the curry paste, tomato puree, wine, bay leaf and lemon juice.
4) Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until well reduced.
5) Strain and leave to cool.
6) Puree the chopped apricot halves in a blender or food processor or through a sieve.
7) Beat the cooled sauce into the mayonnaise with the apricot puree.
8 ) Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the mixture.
9) Season, adding a little extra lemon juice if necessary.
10) Fold in the chicken pieces, garnish with watercress and serve.

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