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Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad (or What to Make If The Queen Comes to Lunch)

Posted Apr 18 2009 12:00am
Sometimes it's fate that determines what I make. Here I have all this garam masala curry powder and chutney left from my last two posts, and then I treat myself to the latest Delicious food magazine from Australia and flipping through, I find a recipe for Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad, from one of my favorite chefs, Jill Dupleix, that uses both. I had heard of Coronation Chicken before but had never tried it. I usually like Jill's recipes and I liked the fact she lightened it up with yogurt. And it never hurts to be prepared with an appropriate dish if the Queen (or Charles and Camilla, or the Beckhams, or Elton John, or Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy, or any other British icons should happen to come over for lunch!


Jill Dupleix says: "The original Coronation Chicken was served at a lunch to honour the gathered Commonwealth Heads of state as part of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953. Two respected food authorities, Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry, created a salad that could be made ahead and served to a number of people on a warm summer's day. They added some curry powder in homage to the guests who had come from afar, and had an instant hit. It's now as much of a cliche of the British summer as warm beer and cucumber sandwiches. It might sound a bit weird, but it really works. The original recipe is quite heavy with mayo and cream, so this is my lighter version, using yoghurt instead of cream. It's a perfect lunch dish, an easy midweek supper, a good picnic companion and a brilliant sandwich the next day. Be prepared to make it again and again; it converts everyone instantly because it's sweet but spicy, and rich but light."


Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad
Jill Dupleix, Delicious, Feb 2009
(Serves 4)

Dupleix says: "You can also make this dish using leftover turkey or poach your own chicken, using the poaching broth to lighten the sauce to the right coating consistency."

1 poached, roasted or barbecued chicken
6 chat potatoes, cooked, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp chopped chives, plus extra whole to garnish
1 butter or green oak leaf lettuce leaves separated (or 200g shredded iceberg lettuce)
1 tsp nigella* or cumin seeds

Dressing
2 Tbsp whole-egg mayonnaise
1/3 cup (95g) natural low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp mango chutney
1 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp tomato paste
dash of Tabasco
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus wedges to serve

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth, then season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, a spoonful at a time, whisking until light and creamy. Set aside.

Take the chicken meat off the bone and cut into bite-size chunks. Toss the chicken, potato, cucumber and chives in the dressing. Divide the lettuce and salad among serving bowls. Sprinkle with Nigella seeds, garnish with extra chives and serve with lemon wedges.

*Nigella seeds are from selected Indian and Middle Eastern food shops.


Notes/Results: Really good! It does sound a bit odd with the chicken, potato and cucumber, but the combination with the curry and the sweetness of the chutney works. I used two large skinless-boneless organic chicken breasts and roasted them (ala Ina), in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I determined that chat potatoes are a small boiling potato and found some small yellow potatoes that worked well. I used a Japanese cucumber as those are more plentiful here, and subbed in a local lettuce blend for the butter lettuce. I used my favorite non-fat yogurt, Fage Greek Yogurt and the curry powder and chutney were from Tyler's recipe. This recipe goes together easily and is best after it sets in the fridge for an hour or two. It's a great warm weather lunch or dinner. I would make it again.


If the Queen leaves you any extra salad from lunch, (don't forget protocol is that when she stops eating you must stop eating too), it does make an incredible (and slightly messy), sandwich the next day. I actually liked the sandwich, on crusty, toasted bread with a thin layer of chutney and some peppery arugula, so much, I would make the recipe again just to have another sandwich.
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