Last year my mother made heaps of Coronation Chicken for our Christmas day lunch. We had a double Christmas in 2010 with our usual Christmas Eve family supper and then a really big Christmas lunch party as well because we had our Canadian family in Cape Town (hard to believe it was a year ago). If I remember correctly we had 38 people for lunch and we turned my lounge into what looked like a beer hall in Munich. On Sunday we had Michael's cousin and his wife for lunch and I decided to make my own variety of Coronation Chicken. I don't know why but is a dish that I always forget about. It is so easy and tasty and it looks the part for the Christmas table too.
Firstly a bit of the history of the dish thanks to Wikipedia:-
Constance Spry, a florist, and Rosemary Hume, a chef, are credited with the invention of coronation chicken. Preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as coronation chicken.
Coronation chicken may have been inspired by jubilee chicken, a dish prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935, which mixed chicken with mayonnaise and curry. Additionally, for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, another celebratory dish was devised, also called "jubilee chicken".
Coronation chicken appealed to a Britain that was not quite ready for the ready meal: it was easy to make but it still gave the cook something to do. In the 1950s, eating in front of the TV became commonplace, but television viewing was highest among the over-forties, who were more likely to be accomplished cooks. For this new generation of TV viewers, dishes such as coronation chicken offered the right blend of convenience and culinary skill. It is not quite such a voguish dish today, and is most often encountered as a filling for shop-bought sandwiches.
One thing I do not enjoy about preparing the dish is poaching the chicken fillets. It always looks so gross. The bubbling white meat floating in the chicken stock and it is inclined to get tough and stringy and look all curdled. Also very easy to overcook. I had a flashback to a Masterchef episode where they rolled the fillets in clingfilm and then poached them in boiling water. Time for me to try it and it worked like a dream. I even took pictures as I went along:-
2 onions braised until soft
with 2T mild curry powder
1 t turmeric
1 small tin tomato paste
4 large tablespoons apricot jam
Juice of one lemon
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise (I used Lite)
1 tin coconut milk (you can use cream or greek yogurt instead)
This you just cook this together, let it simmer a bit and throw it over the chicken (take out the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks, Silly). Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours (overnight would probably be even better).
I had also experimented again with the old fashioned "Sampkoring" salad. Basically just threw together whatever I had in the fridge into it but it consisted of:-
1 bag Sampkoring (cooked according to the directions)
Half a cup maple syrup (or honey)
Half a cup soya sauce
Some of the juice from the canned peaches.
Then I chopped:-
peppers (should have had red, but didn't)
1 tin of canned peaches
some dried apricots
Together with a bottle of wine bought in Riebeeck Kasteel on Saturday:-
(Ooops, not great. The Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc that Alan and Cynthia bought along was far better)
Bar Bar Black Sheep - Riebeeck Kasteel