12.29.2018

The Royal We

That would be me and Elizabeth. Yes, that Elizabeth.

The Sovereign Lady. HRH. Mrs. Windsor. The Queen. Of England.

I have this dream of dining at her table. For once, I could lift my fork without fear.

Well, perhaps there would be fear... of a royal faux pas, such as lifting my fork at the wrong moment.

Or, worse yet, using the wrong fork. I hear that sends one straight To the Tower of London.

No, the fear I would lack is encountering garlic in my meal. You see, the Queen does not eat garlic. At all. Ever. There is no garlic to be found in Buckingham Palace (or Windsor Castle, I presume), according to her chef. Such a sensible lady...

I was at Windsor Castle last year, so I thought I would toss these in...
I don’t know why she doesn’t eat it. Is she allergic like me? Does it disagree with the royal digestive system? Does she fear garlic breath at a state occasion? Is she a vampire? We may never know.

In her honor, and in honor of our friends Maura and Bleu who are about to be married, we served a Royal Wedding dinner. The recipes had to come from a royal occasion (weddings included).

Someone loves his queen!
As host, I chose to serve the original version of the Coronation Chicken Salad, created in 1953 by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume (both principals of the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London) for a luncheon that followed the coronation

I even used my mother's wedding china and silver.
There are many versions to be found online, but this is the original. And it is ESL. (Ever So Lovely.) And hasn’t a trace of garlic.

~ David

Coronation Chicken Salad
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 carrot, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion or large shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
7 ounces red wine
6 ounces water
1 dried bay leaf, or 3 fresh
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices of lemon
1 squeeze of lemon juice, possibly more
2-3 tablespoons apricot purée *
1 1/2 cups prepared mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lightly whipped cream
a little extra whipped cream 


   * made by blanching, peeling, then puréeing 4 small or 2 large apricots.

Start by poaching the chicken. Place the chicken, carrot, celery, and onion in a large stock pot. Add the wine, and then add enough water to cover the chicken by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Drain the chicken (reserving broth for another use) and let it cool.

While chicken is cooling, make the cream of curry sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion, cook gently 3-4 minutes. Add curry-powder and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add tomato paste, wine, water, and bay-leaf. Bring to a boil and add sugar, lemon slices and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer with the pan uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Strain out the solids and cool. It will have a syrupy consistency.

Stir the curry syrup bit by bit into the mayonnaise, and then add the apricot purée to taste (I used the full 3 tablespoons). Adjust seasoning, adding a little more lemon juice if necessary. Finish with the whipped cream.

Cut the cooled chicken in 1/2-inch cubes, and mix in the curry sauce little by little. Do not overdress the salad. When it tastes just right, add a dollop more whipped cream to soften the flavors.

Serve chilled on a bed of greens by itself, or with a rice salad on the side.

Serves 8.

Note: For the coronation meal, the salad was served on oval plates with the chicken salad on the left and a rice salad on the right. The rice salad, which I also made, calls for peas, diced cucumber, herbs (tarragon and chervil) and a light French dressing. In 1957, a French dressing consisted of oil and vinegar. I used a light, but fruity, olive oil and an herbed white wine vinegar. Should you decide to make the rice salad, make sure your rice is completely cool before dressing it.

42 comments:

  1. That's funny about the Queen not having garlic in the palace, but not really surprised. I'm sure their meals are not very Mediterranean. My friend Cynthia from What a Girl Eats also has this chicken salad on her site, but I've never tried it. I'm not a huge fan of mayo, so I tend to douse these types of salads (tuna, chicken etc) with tons of vinegar ;)

    Thanks for another year's worth of gorgeous recipes and stories, David! Happy new year!

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    1. I have another friend who doesn’t like mayo and I wonder about just using crème fraîche? And I was surprised to read from my friend Eha about the history of the recipe and why no garlic!

      Happy New Year, my friend, and thank you for all your fun recipes and travel posts!

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  2. David: I AM laughing but 'ticking' you off at the same time!! 'Coronation chicken' truly is the biggest 'smile' on the face of current brilliant British culinary repertoire! Name six world-wide best-known chefs and most belong . . . Actually Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has a fabulous knowledge of food and a great palate and.these days, very much prefers dishes from the Caribbean ! The lack of garlic is 100% because of possible breath issues as no seafood at Royal meals is there because of possibility of poisoning ! Have I met the hardest-working Royal personally: I have been so honoured on more than one occasion . . . have I eaten 'Coronation Chicken' - David: I am a very proud 'Colonial' but of a far later year . . . , :) !

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    1. Thought I had better clarify: this is a 1953 'political' concoction at the end of the glorious British Empire and the beginning of the huge British Commonwealth. Each geographical and political area was supposed to have an ingredient in it: SO curry powder (yuck!) for Mother India, lime rind and juice for the Caribbean etc. . . . well: it IS wee bit of an anomaly in Great Britain of 2019 except for those attempting to cash in . . . sorry!

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    2. Not to worry, dear friend! I am so happy (not being British although having a lot of British ancestry) to learn why the salad was created - I had no idea! But, once you stated why, it made perfect sense. Thank you! And also good to know that it was the breath issue - and fascinating to know about the seafood, too! Never too old to learn! Either way, it was a fun recipe to use to celebrate our friends’ engagement and upcoming wedding!

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    3. Happy New Year, David ! It is eleven hours old here :)! Just another couple 'gratuitous' facts: both Prince Philip and Prince Charles are such knowledgeable 'foodies' they could write a blog !! And methinks Her Majesty indulges when there are no public functions immediately ahead . . . and she is a real 'greenie' as far as homegrown produce is concerned !! OK: I'm outa here !!!

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    4. Happy New Year! I know Prince Charles is quite a gardener - but didn't know that about Prince Philip. I love the Queen Elizabeth is interested in homegrown and local produce! But I will continue to believe that HRH eschews the garlic at all times... :)

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  3. I had absolutely no idea the Queen was a garlic-less lass. Not that I'm one to pay too much attention to Brit monarchy. The French dressing reminds me of how I was taught how to make it back in professional cooking college. Oil and vinegar, plus a pinch or two of salt. A simple classic!

    This Coronation chicken would be ideal for the 40C (104) degree scorcher we're experiencing today. I need some cooling down!

    Happy New Year to you and Mark!

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    1. Sorry about your heat wave, John - have heard of it from several friends Down Under. Yes, this would be a good choice for a hot day... Happy New Year to you and Dean - wishing happiness, health, and great adventures!

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  4. A splendid recreation of a dish I've not had. It's now on my spring must cook list. Sorry, I guess I didn't know that garlic was a no-go for you. As a nut allergy home, we can sure sympathize with you. I also didn't know of HRM's no garlic rule. I Googled it and found a whole list of no-fly food items. I'm betting that Prince Charles sneaks a big bowl of garlicy pasta when he's on the road.
    David, thanks so much for giving us a peek into your and Mark's life this past year and we so look forward to reading your post and trying your recipes in 2019. A very happy new years to you both.

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    1. Yes, no garlic for me - but so easy to leave out of recipes and (in almost all cases) it doesn’t make a difference. Exceptions would be the Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, garlic soup, aioli, and the like. Honestly, I don’t miss it... but I do appreciate allergies, and some are much harder than others... like nut allergies!

      Happy New Year to you and Eva - I have so enjoyed your posts and learning if your local traditions.

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  5. Your Highness, do you know that You have to stop eating at the moment HRH decide to stop with her eating ? No more of delicacies for anyone sitting at her table. At all ! This is the reason I always have a sandwich or two in my suitcase whenever I enter Windsor Castle LOL

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    1. My apologies: I seem to be missing your point - surely 'manners maketh man' ?!

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    2. I am always amused (and often befuddled) by the rules of state, whether US, British or other. And I just know I would make a fool of myself if I ever found myself at one of those occasions!

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  6. What a great post. This recipe is definitely not what I tasted. I love curry, and I don’t have a problem with mayonnaise, yet I couldn’t handle the heavy handed ness of both in the egg salad. This one is more dignified, and ever so lovely! Did you see the queen’s speech on Christmas? She’s such a delight.

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    1. Egg salad? I have only heard of the chicken version!

      I didn’t see the Queen’s speech on Christmas - I hope it’s available on YouTube. She is a delight, for sure!

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  7. Hi David - Seeing this post brought back great memories from last spring. I stayed with English friends who have a home in Malaucène (Provence). We watched the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan and ate Coronation Chicken for lunch. I've been meaning to try the recipe, and this post will supply the necessary motivation. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. What a wonderful memory, Kirsten - I am afraid that the chicken would have been a bit much at 4:00am as I watched the wedding from Tucson!

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  8. I have to say that I have never made the proper original version of Coronation chicken although I love it! I cheat and mix curry paste, apricot chutney and mayonnaise together! I really should try your version though.

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    1. I think you habe better ingredients available to you for substitutions, Caroline! No good curry pastes here, and definitely no apricot chutney!

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  9. I had heard about the Queen's aversion to garlic. I had always chalked it up to snobbery but perhaps you're right, she might just be allergic. Hadn't even occurred to me!

    Anyway, the salad does sound delicious. I'm up for anything with curry!

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    1. Frank, from what I have learned from British readers, it I see all about not having bad breath, which was my first guess. (I assumed she was NOT a vampire...)

      The salad is good and quite subtle. I liked it a lot.

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  10. Now this looks good! I always thought that Coronation Chicken would be a boring old salad with chicken breast and mayonnaise, however it looks like the Queen was game for some exotic flavors like curry powder! I've recently come across some recipes from old newspaper clippings- Pat Nixon's 'Hot Chicken Salad' from 1958 and a white cake recipe to celebrate Ike's birthday in 1960. Might be time to bring some of these recipes to light, in order to counter-balance the influence from the 'other side of the pond'!

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    1. Fran - I have an old White House Cookbook that was my mother's - I should check out some of those old recipes! Some were really good!

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  11. A nice way to finish out the year. I'm sure HRH is thrilled to be included. :D

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    1. Thanks, Karen, but I am sure HRH has no idea I wrote about her! :)

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  12. So much fun reading about the Queen and such a cool recipe!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - I need to pop over and see what you are doing on Foodtasia!

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  13. This was such a fun post to read. I love your guesses at to why no garlic, and especially love the phrase, "royal digestive system!" :-)
    I've never tried this dish and I like everything in it. Mayo and all. Cheers!

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    1. Valentina - secretly, I am still hoping for vampire! :)

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  14. What a treat to learn a few tidbits about the Queen and to have this recipe! Can't wait to try!

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    1. Once the weather warms up, we will be having this again, Susan! Although a colonialist gesture (per my friends in British Empire), I love all the flavors it combines!)

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  15. Dear David, I do not believe that I have ever made (or tasted) a real Coronation Chicken Salad ever. But it looks splendid and your recipe sounds delicious - what a delightful post, my friend! Your plates are beautiful!
    Andrea

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    1. The plates are my mother’s wedding china - and the fork is her wedding silver. Thanks for noticing, Andrea!

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  16. David, I enjoyed this post. :) I love the royal family and like to keep up with the latest and learn about their history. When we first signed up for Amazon Prime/Netflix, I basically watched ALL the British documentaries they have listed about the queen and the family (and there's a bunch! Drove Evan bonkers! lol) I'm looking forward to trying your coronation chicken salad very much!

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle! It was really fun to write and more fun to learn from my readers some additional info! I’m sure you have seen The Crown?

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  17. Yes, I think of you every time I do a post with garlic now David :)

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    1. That made me laugh, Inger! But I suppose there are worse things that bring me to people's minds! :)

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  18. From what I understand as long as you don’t pick your fork up before the queen you are good to go. But you must eat fast, because when she is finished with her meal so is the whole room! Happy New Year :D

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    1. The good news for me, Emma, is that having grown up in a house full of boys, we all ate fast! I would probably be way ahead of the Queen!

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  19. No garlic? Oh, no! LOVE the stuff. Obviously I'm a commoner. :-) Really fun read, and nice recipe too. But it needs garlic. :-)

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    1. Don't be cheeky, John! ;-) Yep - I am allergic to the little allium. Used to be a bummer but I have gotten so used to it!

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