This Morning: Phil Vickery makes coronation chicken
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Angela Wood is the woman who helped create coronation chicken, and worked on the recipe every day for a month in early 1953. Angela, 88, was a Cordon Bleu cookery school student when she was asked to perfect the dish for a Queen’s Coronation Day banquet. The cookery school was asked to create a menu suitable for 350 foreign guests attending a banquet at Westminster School, London, after Elizabeth’s coronation on June 2, 1953.
The original recipe was published in an old edition of the British gastronomic classic ‘The Constance Spry Cookery Book’.
Angela told Phil on This Morning: “It’s great fun, I didn’t really realise quite what it entailed to begin with until later on when I discovered it was going to be used for all these dignitaries coming from abroad and at the coronation.
“Rationing had only just finished so there was no imported food.
“They do have it at the palace quite frequently.
“In fact I made it when I went to Sandringham to meet her in February.”
Phil Vickery asked if she was “vehemently against certain things going in” coronation chicken.
Angela replied: “Yes! Why people put sultanas and things like that you know I just can’t think!”
When asked if that was her idea, Angela said “no way!”
Fresh unsweetened whipped cream
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.
Add in the onion, bay leaf and curry powder and gently cook for two minutes.
Add in the tomato paste, red wine and water and bring to a gentle boil.
Pour in the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, then season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Simmer for two minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced, then remove from the heat. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and allow it to cool.
Once the sauce is ready, you can fold in the remaining ingredients.
In a large bowl mix together the prepared sauce with the mayonnaise, chopped apricots and whipped cream.
Add in the chicken breast chunks and mix gently all the ingredients together.
How to cook the chicken
For the cooked chicken meat, you can simply grill or steam the skinless chicken breasts.
The traditional recipe instructs to poach the chicken in a big pot of water with a carrot, a bay leaf, a splash of wine, a little fresh thyme and parsley, and four peppercorns.
Poach the chicken for 40 minutes, then cool it down, chop into chunks and mix it with the prepared dressing.
“It’s a strange mixture. And people do the first bit (curry powder and wine) and taste it and it’s just so horrible and strong,” Angela said.
“I mean you can’t believe that it can be right.”
Mrs Wood is sometimes asked why she didn’t use mango, as is used in many of today’s versions of the classic.
“Well, we didn’t have mangoes…, we didn’t have Greek yoghurt,” she said, adding that “nowadays people add all sorts of things”.
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