Coronation chicken was apparently created by Florist Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 - see Wikipedia's article on Coronation Chicken for more information. Although prevailingly more recent preparations often prescribe the addition of raisins, with which many will be more familiar, the following recipe is based on the "official" recipe published in 1956, and serves 8:
- One 2.3kg (5 lb) chicken, poached (you can use other pre-cooked chicken e.g. roast)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp curry paste
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 100ml red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- The juice of half a lemon
- 4 apricot halves, finely chopped
- 300ml (half a pint) mayonnaise
- 100 ml (4 fl oz) whipping cream
- Salt and pepper
- Watercress to garnish
- Skin the chicken if needed, and cut it into small pieces. Traditionally the chicken is cooked whole in advance, but alternatively you can use raw chicken and grill the chicken pieces at this point.
- In a small saucepan warm a small amount of vegetable oil.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook gently until soft (about 3 minutes).
- Add the curry paste, tomato puree, wine, bay leaf and lemon juice. Simmer uncovered for about 10 mins until well reduced. Strain and leave to cool.
- Purée the chopped apricots in a blender or processor. Beat the cooled sauce into the mayonnaise with the apricot purée.
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the mixture.
- Season with salt and pepper, and a little lemon juice if necessary.
- Fold in the chicken pieces, garnish with watercress and serve.