Coronation chicken recipe

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No coronation celebration would be the same without coronation chicken. This retro dish serves 8-10 party guests and is so simple and easy to make - great for any street party.

Coronation chicken
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
  • healthy
Serves8–10
SkillEasy
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time45 mins
Total Time1 hours 15 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories321 Kcal16%
Fat21 g30%
Saturated Fat3 g15%

Coronation chicken is one of the non-negotiable dishes to serve up for any royal celebrations. 

This classic recipe takes plain chicken breasts and spruces them up, fit for a king or queen, with mayo, curry paste and sweet chunks of apricot. It makes the perfect buffet food sandwich filling, smothered generously between crusty slices of white bread. Alternatively, you can serve it as part of a self-serve spread, with potato salad, tomato salad and lettuce alongside. This recipe makes enough to serve 8-10 party guests, but it's really simple to make if you need to do double portions for plenty of guests. 

Ingredients

  • 1kg (2¼lb) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 150ml (¼ pint) red wine
  • 3 level tbsp Korma curry paste
  • 1 level tbsp tomato purée
  • 420g can apricot halves, drained
  • 250ml (8fl oz) mayonnaise
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • Rocket leaves, for garnish

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Set the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Arrange chicken in a roasting tin and add the onions, bay leaves and thyme. Dissolve the stock cubes in 300ml (½ pint) boiling water, then stir in the red wine and pour over the chicken. Cover the pan with foil and cook in the centre of the oven for 40-45 mins, or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear when the flesh is pierced with a fine skewer.
  3. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and leave to cool. Pour the juices into a large pan (such as a sauté pan) and add the curry paste and tomato purée. Boil rapidly, until the juices have evaporated to give a thick paste, stirring regularly so the paste doesn’t stick to the base of the pan. Remove pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool.
  4. Place the paste in a food processor, or blender, and add the apricots and purée until smooth. Sieve the mixture to give a smooth paste.
  5. Stir in the mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Slice the chicken breasts and stir into the curry sauce. Keep the mixture chilled until serving, then spoon on to serving plate and scatter a few rocket leaves around the edge to give some colour.

Top Tip for making Coronation chicken

You can use curry powder instead of paste if that's what you have in.

Why is it called coronation chicken?

The origins of Coronation chicken are royal based. It was created for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, by cookery writer Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume, while catering for the Queen's coronation. When they invented the dish, it was given the French name Poulet Reine Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth's chicken) but it quickly became known and loved as coronation chicken, and the name has stuck ever since.

Can I prepare coronation chicken in advance?

You can make this dish a day or two in advance and store it in a sealed container until needed. Give it a good stir then transfer to a large bowl to serve, buffet-style.

Are there sultanas in coronation chicken?

There are no sultanas in the original coronation chicken - they have crept in over the years. If you don't have tinned apricots, you can toss in a handful of sultanas instead to add a kick of sweetness. 

How can I make coronation chicken a little lighter?

Swap the calorie-laden mayonnaise for a half fat crème fraîche instead, to reduce the fat content. 

What should I serve with coronation chicken?

The original recipe, served for the coronation lunch in 1953 came with a salad of rice, green peas and pimentos - this or any other big sharing salad makes a great buffet spread with coronation chicken. Potato salad is one of our favourites to serve alongside, and for a cheap and cheerful addition, try our carrot salad

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Food & Recipes writer

Sue McMahon is a former Food and Recipes Writer at GoodTo and Cooking Editor at Woman's Weekly. Her primary passion is cakes and Sue regularly travels the world teaching cake decorating. Her biggest achievement to date was winning the Prix d’honneur at La Salon Culinaire International de Londres beating over 1,200 other entries.