Poulet Reine Elizabeth (Coronation Chicken)
Originally listed on the menu as Poulet Reine Elizabeth, Coronation Chicken as it is now known, was created for Her Majesty’s guests at the 1953 Coronation Luncheon of Queen Elizabeth II by Chef Rosemary Hume of The Cordon Bleu Cookery School, London.
In honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, we are recreating Poulet Reine Elizabeth. It was described back then as cold chicken, boned and coated in curried cream sauce. The delicately seasoned chicken was proclaimed a huge success at the luncheon.
The traditional recipe had subtle wine and herb flavors with a creamy pale pink color, unlike modern versions that are mostly bright yellow and often include such ingredients as golden raisins, grapes, celery, almonds, mango chutney, and cilantro. Most notably, Chef Hume’s 1950s recipe contained a good dollop of fresh whipped cream, whereas today’s cooks often substitute yogurt or crème fraîche.
The following cold curried chicken recipe closely resembles that original one, served at the Coronation Day banquet to three hundred fifty people in the Great Hall of Westminster School. It is plated on my newly acquired Royal Staffordshire English Ironstone vintage dinnerware.