“Coronation Chicken” is the name for a cold curried salad devised in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. “It was my mother’s favorite,” Jilly says. “She adapted the recipe and I’ve refined it over the years.” Light and tender, it’s a gently poached chicken, pulled apart and mixed with a mélange of curry, mayonnaise, yogurt, apricots, and white wine.
Jilly poaches a whole chicken when making her Coronation Chicken. It takes a bit longer, but the meat is remarkably flavorful and tender.
1 whole 3-1/2-pound chicken
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
1 heaping tablespoon apricot jam
5-6 dried apricots, diced
1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head lettuce (optional)
Tie chicken legs together and place bird in a stockpot with bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Add salt, turn off the burner, cover, and let chicken sit until cool, about 5 hours. Drain and reserve liquid for use in sauce or soup.
Remove chicken skin and bones (add them to the reserved liquid if you like). Break meat into bite-size pieces, careful to remove gristle and tendons.
Place chicken meat in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients (yogurt through pepper) and mix thoroughly. Cover, and refrigerate overnight if possible. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on individual plates.