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.
Coronation Chicken Recipe
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Miso-Braised Asparagus, Ginger Sauce, Sliced Scallion
My “Le PONT de la TOUR” China
in Honor of
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
While ginger sauce makes a heart-healthy alternative to hollandaise, braising asparagus in miso broth adds another layer of subtle flavor. A casual ladle of ginger sauce over braised asparagus makes for a zippy vegetable side. The addition of buckwheat noodles, tomatoes and pine nuts makes a vibrant meatless meal.
Lucy Robinson Hanson
1886 – 1970
Over a century ago, Lucy Robinson and Jack Hanson were Londoners. Early in the 1900’s, Jack left England for Chicago to follow his dreams. Shortly thereafter and still a teenager, Lucy left her family and followed her true love to America. By 1952 Lucy was a widow, a mother of 7 and grandmother of 17 when Princess Elizabeth, while visiting Kenya, received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne.
Lucy decided to take one of her grandchildren back to England to visit the family she hadn’t seen in many many years and to witness The Coronation which was to take place in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June 1953. They boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth and sailed to England. The granddaughter that accompanied Lucy was my mother. She was 19.
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