Midsummer feasts: Coronation chicken



With the picnic season upon us, our Head Chef Stewart Turner continues his series of recipes for al fresco dining with a quintessentially British picnic dish – coronation chicken; previously considered passé, this street-party staple is experiencing a revival.

Coronation chicken has had its ups and downs since its original inception as a dish to celebrate the Queen’s coronation. It gave Britain a much-needed culinary lift in those thrifty post-war years. Cool enough now to hold retro cachet, it has made a bit of a comeback in recent years; but, whether in fashion or not, it is a dish that I love. Not only is it so versatile – as a canapé, snack, sandwich-filling or picnic must – but it can be adapted (at Berry Bros. & Rudd we do a crab version that makes a lovely dinner-party starter). Above all else it’s absolutely delicious. It is often made with leftovers, which I think does it a bit of a disservice; I like to make mine with a freshly-roasted chicken that has been dusted with spices.

Coronation chicken

  • 1 chicken
  • 2 onions – 1 peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic – 2 peeled and finely chopped, 3 smashed
  • 1 lemon – halved
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • A good splash of white wine
  • 50g dried apricots – diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 100g mayonnaise
  • 50g mango chutney – chopped through

Peel and thickly slice one of the onions and place in a roasting tray. Stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon, thyme and three cloves of garlic. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Massage in half the spices. Place the chicken on top of the onions and roast at 180?C for about an hour, until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked. Remove from the roasting tray and allow to cool. Retain the onions with the chicken and deglaze the tray with a good splash of white wine, scraping the tray to remove any sediment. Set to one side.

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the remaining onion, chilli and garlic for about five minutes. Add the remaining spices and allow to cook for two to three minutes. Add the liquor from the roasting tray and, once reduced by half, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once cool enough to touch, strip the chicken from the bones, dicing down any large chunks. Chop the onions that were cooked with the chicken and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced onion, spice mix, mayonnaise and mango chutney. Season to taste. Finish with the chopped herbs and dried apricots and chill well.

Serve sprinkled with poppadum crumbs and fresh mango salsa for a truly great picnic experience.

Discover our definitive list of wines and spirits for summer drinking on bbr.com.