By Gretchen McKay

Coronation Chicken

Posted April 26, 2011 by Gretchen McKay


  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Chickens
  • 1 Carrot
  • Splash of Wine
  • Pinch of Thyme
  • 1 Handful Chopped Parsley
  • 4 Peppercorns

For Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Onion
  • 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon teaspoon tomato puree or paste
  • 8 oz Red Wine
  • 6 oz Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 cups Mayonaisse
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot puree, made from soaked and boiled dried apricots
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Whipped Cream


You should be aware of the most famous dish invented for a Royal event,” my Londoner friend Tony Wales responded via email, when I asked what “real” Brits would be eating on the day of the royal wedding. “Coronation Chicken was designed for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation (in 1953) as a dish that every guest from every part of the Empire could happily eat (i.e. no pork, no red meat, mild spices, etc).” He included a link to a recipe for Coronation Chicken that ran in 2009 in The Telegraph.

So it’s not exactly breakfast food. But the chicken-salad-like dish is perfect for lunch after your post-wedding nap, served either with rice salad or spooned on bread.

I took a shortcut by using two supermarket rotisserie chickens.

Poach chicken for 40 minutes in water with carrot, wine, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns. Cool in the liquid, then remove the meat from the bones and set aside.

To make sauce, heat oil in a pan and add chopped onion. Cook gently for 3 minutes then add curry powder. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomato puree or paste, wine, water, bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add pinch of salt, pepper and sugar, lemon juice, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and cool.

Slowly add mayonnaise, then stir in apricot puree or marmalade, Season again — the sauce must not be too sweet. Finish by adding whipped cream. Add only enough sauce to coat the chicken lightly, then eat it with a rice salad.

Serves 6 to 8.

— Adapted from The Telegraph, June 2009