Coronation Chicken Salad
Coronation Chicken Salad is an Indian-inspired, curried chicken salad that was originally served for her coronation banquet in 1953. It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory with just a touch of heat.
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What Is Coronation Chicken Salad?
Also called ‘Poulet Reine Elizabeth’, the salad was originally invented by the Le Cordon Bleu London cooking school specifically for the coronation celebration.
The school was tasked with creating a menu that would appeal to the very diverse foreign dignitaries from many different countries. The salad was a huge hit.
It was described in the Coronation menu as poached chicken breast coated in a curry cream sauce with a side of well-seasoned, dressed salad of rice, green peas, and pimentos. The recipe, with the curry spices, was very avante-garde for its time.
Coronation Chicken Salad was loosely based on the Jubilee Chicken that was served for King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935.
What Is Major Grey’s Chutney?
Major Grey’s Chutney is a sweet and tangy condiment comprised of mango, raisins, vinegar, lime juice, onion, tamarind, sugar, and spices. It can vary in both sweetness and heat depending on the brand that you use.
It was reputedly first created in the 19th century by a British Army officer of Indian descent, named Major Grey. You’ll find the chutney used in curries or as a condiment for meats and cheeses. It’s lovely on a charcuterie tray.
You can find Major Grey’s Chutney in the grocery store, usually in the condiment aisle. If not, apricot jam is a good substitute. If using jam, cut down or eliminate the brown sugar.
What’s Curry Powder?
Curry powder is an earthy spice mixture created by British cooks to mimic the warm flavors of Indian cuisine. It has a sweet and savory flavor profile.
Unbeknownst to most, Indian ‘curries’ use garam masala spice in the sauce and not curry powder. Curry powder is made up of turmeric and other spices that could include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mustard, fennel seed, cumin, black pepper, or garlic. It can vary in spiciness depending on how much ginger, black pepper, and chili powder is used.
Garam masala uses sweeter and more pungent spices in the blend such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, coriander, and cumin.
- Butter – I used salted, but use what you have. You could also use olive oil.
- Sweet onion, celery, fresh chives, parsley, and lemon
- Major Grey’s Chutney – I used Crossey & Maxwell brand, but any brand will work.
- Tomato paste
- Red wine vinegar – balances out the sweetness of the chutney. You could also use apple cider vinegar.
- Curry powder, bay leaf, salt, and pepper
- Brown sugar
- Mayonnaise – you could use plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, or heavy cream.
- Chicken – you can roast your own, I like using a rotisserie chicken from the deli.
- Almonds – pecans would also work in this dish. Whichever nut you use, toast the nuts for extra flavor.
- Dried apricots and raisins
Steps To Make This Recipe
- Make the sauce by sauteing the onions in butter until translucent.
- Stir in the chutney, tomato paste, water, vinegar, curry powder, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
- Simmer until thick, remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- Stir in the mayonnaise.
- Assemble the salad. Toss together the chicken, celery, nuts, apricots, green onion, parsley, and raisins.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken mixture and fold together until very well combined.
So easy, even the Queen herself could whip it up in no time!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider our Cape Cod Chicken Salad.
Coronation Chicken Salad
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 6 tablespoons Major Grey’s Chutney
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup mayonnaise
For the salad:
- 3 cups minced roasted chicken
- ½ cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Crackers, bread, or lettuce leaves for serving
Make the sauce.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the onions until translucent - about 5 minutes.
- Add the chutney, tomato puree, water, vinegar, curry powder, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and bay leaf, and stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture resembles the consistency of ketchup.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Whisk in the mayonnaise until blended.
Make the salad.
- Toss the chicken, celery, almonds, apricots, chives, parsley, and raisins in a large bowl.
- Pour the sauce over the mixture and fold until all the ingredients are coated in the sauce.
- Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve with crackers, as a sandwich filling, or scooped onto a bed of lettuce.