Jubilee Recipe: Diamond Chicken

Published June 4, 2012

By Lucy Cufflin

Ever heard of ‘Jubilee Chicken’? No? Well, it was dish that mixed chicken, curry spices and mayonnaise and it appeared at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of George V in 1935.

Hang on, isn’t that Coronation Chicken? Well yes, in all but name. There were some spice variations, but Rosemary Hulme and Constance Spry of the Cordon Bleu Cookery School did not so much invent the dish for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 as re-design a Royal favourite.

In fact, the dish has its roots much further back in history and the mix of spice and fruit with chicken has its basis in the Middle Ages. There are ancient recipes that suggest boiling chicken and then using the resulting broth with ground almonds to make a white sauce – this is then left to go cold and mixed with dried fruits and spices. As they say, there really is nothing new in cookery!

Having said that, it was the publicity of the dish appearing at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II that put it firmly on our culinary map.

Whilst training at London’s Cordon Bleu School (Rosemary Hulme founded it), we were obliged to make Coronation Chicken as part of our course and it took about two days in total. We soaked and marinated dried apricots, hand-blended spices and made our own mayonnaise, and this wonderful dish bore little resemblance to the sandwich filling we see on our supermarket shelves today.

It was, it is, truly magical and made like that it is not hard to see how it won its place in our hearts.

Our tastes have changed over the last few decades and we now eat lighter, fresher-flavoured food, so I set about looking to update my old and convoluted Cordon Bleu recipe to create something fresh for 2012.

At the time of the Coronation, our spices and food influences were colonial, but now a lot of the Far East floods into our lives every day, so instead of curry spices I have opted for the oriental, using a five-spice blend. I have kept the fruit fresh with ripe mango rather than using the heavier-flavoured dried apricots of the original recipe.

I noticed the other day in the supermarket that there is more shelf space given over to ‘light’, ‘super light’ and ‘even lighter’ mayonnaise than there is to the original, so my guess is that to update this recipe we also need to ditch the mayo… enter Greek yoghurt.

So here is my ‘Diamond Chicken’ – try it, love it and maybe you’ll share it with friends and neighbours to celebrate what is without doubt a magnificent occasion…

____________________

Diamond Chicken

Serves 10 for light lunch

* 10 x 130g chicken fillets, no skin or bone
* 1 chicken stock cube
* 2 tbsp brown sugar
* Juice and zest of 2 limes
* 25ml lemon juice (Jif is OK)
* 2 tsp five-spice
* 2 ripe mangoes, skin removed and cut into large chunks
* 1 fresh bird-eye chilli, chopped (seeds in)
* 1 x 4cm cube fresh ginger, grated
* 12 tbsp Natural or Greek yoghurt
* 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
* Salt and pepper

1 Place the chicken fillets and crumbled stock cube into a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Place a lid on the pan and return to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for around 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the chicken to cool in the liquid. This can be done up to two days ahead and the chicken stored in the fridge.

2 Put the brown sugar, lime zest and juice, lemon juice, and five-spice into a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes to dissolve the sugar. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

3 Meanwhile, put the mango flesh, ginger and chilli into a processor and blend with the lime mix.

4 Stir into the yoghurt and season to taste. This can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated.

5 Drain the chicken and cut into mouth-sized pieces and stir into the yoghurt mixture along with the freshly chopped coriander.

6 Serve with couscous salad or lots of crusty bread and leaves.

____________________

Local chef Lucy is author of acclaimed cookbook Lucy’s Food and co-runs a food and kitchenware shop of the same name in Leicester’s Stoneygate. For more information visit www.lucysfood.co.uk or tweet to @LucysFood on Twitter.

____________________

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.