Coronation Chicken: not just for royal celebrations

Last week, while scouring the papers for any little nugget about the impending wedding, I came across a history of the coronation chicken, so thought I’d share it with you…

The dish was created for the 1952 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and was initially known as Poulet Reine Elizabeth. Despite sounding dreadfully smart, the most important aspect of the dish was that it was easy and cheap so everyone in bleak, post-war Britain could enjoy something a little bit special on the country’s big day.

The other criteria was that the dish could be eaten with a fork from a plate perched on Briton’s knees so they could have lunch while watching all the events unfold on television.

Although the ‘world’s first TV dinner’ mightn’t sound like the most enticing meal, I was pleasantly surprised as to how delicious and more-ish it was. The phrase ‘Coronation Chicken’ conjured up images of lurid yellow supermarket salad pots, or disappointingly soggy sandwiches. But serve this version as a summer buffet with a big tray of roasted vegetables, and tabbouleh – it’s a modern twist for a special occasion – and, most importantly, can still be eaten with a fork.

For a big dish that’ll easily serve 8 – to feed more people, you can pad it out with extra big side dishes of roasted vegetables and couscous.

2 small chickens (or 1 big’un)
Black peppercorns
Bay leaf
250 ml Greek yoghurt
250 ml good mayonnaise
7 tablespoons of mango chutney
Small bunch of coriander
3 tablespoons of curry powder
Good slosh of Lea & Perrins

Put the chickens in a big pan. Cover with water, add a couple of bay leaves and peppercorns, then simmer for an hour and a half.

Once the chicken is nicely poached and the juices are running clear, then let it cool and then tear the meat off the bone.


I put the curry powder in a frying pan, and then heated it a little just until the flavours had been released and were wafting round the kitchen.

Next, put the yoghurt, mayonnaise, chutney, Lea & Perrins and curry powder into a bix mixing bowl and stir. Add the curry powder, chicken and chopped coriander – voila, a modern take on a retro dish. Enjoy!

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