Coronation Chicken

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By Robert Harland

What’s Cooking?

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'M ON holiday in merrie olde England this month, staying in the depths of the New Forest in the southern part of the country. A terrific place and one of the country's largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land and forest.

Each morning we get to see wild donkeys and ponies wandering down the lane, but we have to keep the gates firmly shut or they'll be in the garden in a trice and that would be the end of the lawn and flowers beds!

As I'm in England, I thought it only appropriate this week to feature a royal dish in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Coronation Chicken was created especially to mark the occasion more than 60 years ago when the Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

Constance Spry, an English food writer and Rosemary Hume, a chef, both principals of the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London, are credited with the invention of Coronation Chicken.

Preparing the food for the banquet of the Queen's coronation in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as Coronation Chicken.

So practical was the creation that it proved an instant hit with the fashionable hostesses of the decade. "Not since Escoffier invented Peach Melba has a dish become so famous so fast," said British restaurateur, television presenter and cookery writer Prue Leith.

It may be more retro than regal these days, but those same qualities make Coronation Chicken a useful party standby some 60 years on.

My sister, Rosemary Jones, who lives in nearby Southampton, tells me it's one of her favorite dishes.

"Coronation Chicken is a great way to use up leftover chicken," she said. "It's excellent for lunch boxes or picnics and terrific when served as a filling for a baked potato."

The dish made something of a comeback when it was served at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

This is my sister's recipe:


(makes 2 generous portions for a main dish with salad and rice or filling for two baked potatoes or filling for several rounds of sandwiches)

3 cold cooked chicken breasts, diced or shredded
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp curry powder
Handful of raisins, washed
Handful of dried apricots, chopped
1 or 2 Tbsp cream (optional)
1 Tbsp Mango chutney*


Thoroughly mix the curry powder and mayonnaise. Add the remainder of the ingredients except the cream. Mix well and add the cream if desired.

Chill in the ref for two hours before serving.

*Mango Chutney

You may not be able to get mango chutney in Negros so here's a recipe:


4 large mangoes, peeled, stoned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
450g caster sugar
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
600 mL white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper


Put the mango slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave overnight. In the morning, drain off the juice and rinse the fruit.

Put the garlic, sugar, apples, ginger, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a pan and, over a low heat, dissolve the sugar.

Bring to the boil and add the mangoes. Simmer for 30 minutes until the chutney is thick and syrupy.

Spoon into jars and seal.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 14, 2014.


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