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A recipe for Coronation year by the great Constance Spry - who took care to point out that this was a dish which could be prepared in advance, allowing the cook-hostess (goodness!) time to enjoy the fun. The doyenne of Winkfield Place, most famous of finishing schools, had the unenviable task of prodding the post-war crop of debutantes into some semblance of competence in the kitchen. Serve with your favourite rice salad - impeccably fifties.


Serves a small party - 6-8


1 large roasting chicken or boiling fowl

1 glass white wine

Carrot, onion, celery-top, bay, thyme, parsley

Peppercorns and salt


The sauce


1 tblsp butter

1 slice onion, finely chopped

1 dessertspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon tomato puree

1 glass red wine

Bay leaf

1 pint home-made lemon mayonnaise

3-4 tablespoons whipped cream

2 tablespoons apricot jam

Salt and pepper


To decorate


Toasted almonds

Small white grapes


Put the chicken, vegetables and aromatics in a roomy saucepan which will just accommodate the bird. Pour in the wine plus enough water to submerge everything. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, lid and leave to simmer until tender. Allow 60 minutes for a roaster, about 2 hours for a boiler. Let the chicken cool in the broth. Skin, de-bone and cut bite-sized pieces. Reserve the broth for the vichyssoise (see above).

 Meanwhile make the sauce: heat the butter and fry the onion until soft. Stir in the curry powder and let it fry for a moment. Add the tomato puree, bay leaf, wine and a glass of water, and let it bubble uncovered until reduced by half. Strain and leave to cool.

 To make the mayonnaise, you'll need 3 egg yolks and 3/4 pint oil (half olive, half sunflower). Start with both the major ingredients at room temperature. Fork the yolks in a bowl with a tblspn French mustard. Using a wooden spoon, work in the oil, drop by drop at first - more freely as the sauce emulsifies. Finish with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

 Stir the cooled sauce and the apricot jam into the mayonnaise, and fold in the whipped cream. Fold all but a third into the chicken, and pile it on a pretty serving dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and decorate with toasted almonds and peeled de-seeded grapes.

coronation chicken.JPG
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