June 2, 2012 marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who will have been on the British throne for sixty years and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. To mark the event, and also the London Olympics, I’ll be posting a few traditional British recipes over the summer. This is going to be a big, big year for us!
I’m feeling a little sad since I will not be at home for the Jubilee and will miss out on the cakes, trifles, sandwiches, sausage rolls, street parties, village fetes, bunting, flag waving, nostalgia and copious wine drinking that will no doubt be going on.
In reality, we Brits are nowhere near as outwardly patriotic as Americans. Most of us don’t know all the words to the national anthem and you’d be hard put to find a Union Jack flying on a building or house outside of London. That’s just the way we are. We love our country as much as you do, but we just don’t feel the need to show it very often! Come the Olympics or a rugby international we’re up there with the best of them, but day to day, things like that don’t really matter very much. I am still surprised when I go to events like the circus or a minor league baseball game here and the anthem is played and everyone puts their hand to their chest and sings. Nothing wrong with that obviously, in fact I like it, but it’s just not us.
That said, if anything will bring out our dormant national pride, it’s an event like this. The Royal Wedding did the trick last year. Even lukewarm royalists were caught shedding a tear or sneaking a smile at the sight of Will and Kate emerging from Westminster Abbey.
So it will be this year. The Queen, now well into her eighties and still working as hard as ever, is a hugely popular figure and the country will come together to celebrate, eat and drink in her honor in huge numbers. Given the depressing economic climate, the feel-good factor will be very welcome. My mom’s local village is hosting three days of festivities including a village fete complete with cake stall and plant stall, children’s sports day and garden competition with my mom as one of the judges (theme of course red, white and blue).
The recipe for coronation chicken was created in 1952 to mark the Queen’s Coronation. The ingredients probably seem very ordinary today, but back in the early 1950′s when Britain was still under the shadow of wartime rationing, which continued for several years after the war had ended, many everyday items were hard to obtain or in short supply. Ingredients like chili peppers, mango and curry powder must have seemed wildly exotic to people at the time.
Over the intervening years coronation chicken has often been regarded as a bit of a joke. Most commonly found as a lurid yellow sandwich filling full of gloopy mayonnaise and flavored with nothing but curry, it can be awful. Here, however, it is restored to its former glory and worthy of royal attention.
3 large chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
salt and pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red chile (chilli), deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp madras curry powder *
2 tbsp tomato puree
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) dry white wine
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) chicken stock
1 tbsp apricot jam
150ml (5 fl oz) fat free Greek yogurt or reduced fat creme fraiche
75ml (3 fl oz) olive oil mayonnaise
1 large mango, peeled and diced
3 scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
small handful chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
dash Tabasco sauce
small handful of flaked almonds for garnish
green salad leaves to serve.
* Madras curry powder is hotter than regular curry powder, but this works well too if you can’t find the Madras version. The dish will just be less spicy, or add a little more Tabasco!
Rub the chicken with 1 tblsp of olive oil, scatter over the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. The recipe I used suggested steaming the chicken for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. I chose to bake mine in the oven and covered them with foil to prevent them drying out. Either way works fine.
Place the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and the onion and chile and cook for five minutes until soft. Stir in the curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and the wine. Cook until the volume of liquid reduces by half.
Stir in the jam and the stock and simmer until reduced by half again. Leave to cool.
In a separate bowl mix together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, then add the cooled curry mixture. Fold in the mango, spring onions, lemon juice and cilantro.
When the chicken is cooked, cut into bite-size pieces and add to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of Tabasco. Serve on a bed of salad leaves and garnish with the sliced almonds.
Taken from the BBC TV Show Hairy Bikers.