Coronation Chicken and Chenin Blanc

Disclaimer: The Conte de la Terre Chenin Blanc was a free sample from Scout and Cellar.

Coronation Chicken is a classic English dish. Invented by Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry, both of whom trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It was served at the banquet for the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth  II in 1953. In the decades since, the dish became a staple of sandwich shops. The recipe evolved, but at heart it is cold chicken in a mayonnaise and curry sauce.

Amber’s Recipe for Coronation Chicken

This recipe I came up with after eating fairly bland versions in the UK.  The basics were there, but for my taste, there was something missing in the dish. It just needed some extra add-ins to make it shine.

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp kosher salt
Black pepper to taste (I don’t add it to mine)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried coriander (US: cilantro)
1/2 tsp dried celery salt


Mix the spices together and coat your chicken breasts on all sides with it. Let the chicken sit for a couple of hours covered in the fridge, allowing the spices to soak in to the meat. You can do this the day before, but I would recommend you don’t do it for less than a couple of hours.

Bake the chicken breasts at 350F or 180C degrees for 25 minutes until cooked on a lined cookie sheet. The internal temperature should reach 165F or 75C.

Let the chicken cool before preparing the dish.  Roughly chop the chicken breasts into small bite size chunks.

For the Dressing:

1 1/2 cups of Mayo
2-3 Tablespoons of mild curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried coriander
1/2 tsp dried celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a bowl and add in the chicken.

For the Mix-ins:

1 fuji apple chopped roughly. Make sure you chop it small enough for a sandwich but keep them large enough to add texture and flavor
2 small or 1 large stalk of celery chopped roughly
1/3 cup of golden or regular raisins
1/3 cup craisins (or raisins)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup of chopped pecans or toasted pine nuts

Note: I have used grapes instead of apples, cut them in half.  I prefer the apple flavor in this dish though.  Other  dried fruits like apricots can be used.However,  I feel like this balance works for me and the contrast of colors makes it very appealing.

Mix in the final ingredients and it is ready to serve.  This can be served warm or cold. If serving warm, don’t allow the chicken to cool before adding into the dressing.  It can be served on a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich. I have also served it inside an avocado half or stuffed into a tomato. It’s all up to you.

Coronation Chicken and Chenin Blanc

Conte de la Terre Chenin Blanc

We paired the Coronation Chicken with the Conte de la Terre Chenin Blanc. Scout and Cellar provided us the bottle. We wrote about the company when we reviewed a Merlot a week or so ago.

Chenin Blanc is  a good choice to pair with spicy food. When made well, it combines acidity with rich fruit. When Amber said she was making Coronation Chicken for lunch, this bottle was an obvious choice. Conte de la Terre is from Mendocino County. Scout and Cellar charge $25 for the wine.

The nose was of honeysuckle and melon. The wine was lean, sharp green apples to the fore of the palate. Underpinning the fruit was a hint of flint. In the finish there was a dollop of cream. Chenin Blanc can be flabby, if the fruit over-ripens and  the acidity fades. This wine hs none of those flaws; demonstrating an old-world austerity that appeals to my palate. The wine’s acidity worked well with the rich Coronation Chicken.


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