Last week King Charles announced that the signature dish for his upcoming Coronation Luncheon will be... Coronation Quiche! While I love a good quiche, the French pastry seems an odd choice on such a thoroughly British occasion, and it seems unlikely that Coronation Quiche will endure in quite the same way as his mother's inspired choice for her big day.
Also known as Poulet Reine Elizabeth, Coronation Chicken was developed in 1953 by English cook and writer Rosemary Hume of Le Cordon Bleu London along with co-principal Constance Spry, the celebrated florist who happened to design the florals for the 1937 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Their aim was to devise a signature dish for the Queen's Coronation Luncheon which families throughout the Kingdom could also prepare both easily and affordably in their own homes in celebration. The dish consists of tender pieces of cold chicken coated in a creamy curry-spiced dressing along with a little apricot puree and flavoured with herbs. It can be served in a variety of ways, whether on its own, in a salad or as filling inside a sandwich. Coronation Chicken was an instant hit and it has since become a much-loved staple of British cuisine, as well as a frequent feature during afternoon tea. Over the years, updates and modifications to the Hume-Spry recipe have emerged but the 1953 original, which is featured in the classic tome "Constance Spry’s Cookery Book" (co-authored by Hume and Spry in 1956), remains as popular as ever.
Coronation Chicken, served with Brioche. Photo from: Le Cordon Bleu.
Constance Spry arranges the Queen's Table for the 1953 Coronation Luncheon. Photo by Ron Case.
Menu from the Queen's Coronation Luncheon, 1953.