With Spring fully in bloom, we wanted to share a recipe that would be a great addition to those outdoor picnics, as well as a novel school lunch idea. Coronation chicken salad is a traditional British lunch dish that often comes in a sandwich form and is a perfect representative of East meets West. It is said to have been invented during preparations for the coronation banquet of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, during which food writer and flower arranger Constance Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as coronation chicken.
We based our recipe on an original from another British institution, the Hairy Bikers (if you’re not familiar with them, you should check out their shows – they’re hilarious), and made it dairy-free by removing the creme fraiche and using a non-dairy butter substitute. It’s a pretty involved process to make this, but since you can make a lot at a time (and since it’s so delicious), we think it’s well worth the time. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4):
2 free range chicken breasts, skin removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Knob* of non-dairy butter (we suggest 2 tbsp of Smart Balance)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock
1 tbsp apricot jam
225ml/8fl oz mayonnaise
1 large mango (not too ripe or it will be hard to dice), peeled, stone removed, flesh diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (American translation: cilantro)
Dash Tabasco sauce
50g/2oz flaked almonds (toasted lightly dry frying pan)
Green salad leaves, to serve
1) Rub the olive oil all over the chicken. Scatter over the lemon zest and season with the salt and black pepper.
2) Steam the chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through, then set aside to cool.
3) Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the shallot and chilli and fry for five minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further minute. Add the wine and continue to cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.
4) Stir in the jam and stock, continue to simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
5) Mix the mayonnaise and the curry dressing in a large bowl. Fold in the mango, spring onions, lemon juice and coriander.
6) Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Fold this into the mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco to taste. Serve with a green salad, dressed with the toasted almond flakes, or inside a sandwich
*A knob is a British term which is used liberally – it basically means as much as you want, but something in the range of a couple of tablespoons