Before I had a baby, holidays seemed to come and go before I had thought about what I was going to cook with them. I’d see a bunny in May and think…oh better get ready for Easter! A positive person would look at this as thinking ahead for the next year….the reality is it’s well beyond procrastination. The same thing happened with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I like to think that if I we had been given a four day weekend in New York then I would have paid more attention.
So now that I have a baby, I can hardly expect myself to do any better at being organized enough to produce a holiday recipe in time for said holiday, can I? Given that I’m a person who likes predictability and planning, it’s somewhat strange that I haven’t mastered the art of pre-holiday blogging.
It’s not exactly something that babies bring to the table either. Predictability, schedules- deadlines…they laugh in the face of these words. Or rather spit-up, poop, pee down your shirt and then laugh at them with a big gummy grins. Just when you think you’ve nailed the night time sleep they decide to be wide awake and ready for breakfast at 3 am. Just when you nail the breastfeeding they suddenly decide that they don’t like a particular side- as if it were a totally different type of cuisine. And just when you think you have the worlds happiest baby they decide to buy a one way ticket on the grumpy train with no indication as to when they’ll hop off. Now I understand why people say that being a mother is the hardest job in the world- it one hundred percent is. The days when I am back at work seem a breeze in comparison. Sure, I don’t get to go to work in my Pajamas but the truth is, taking the time to get dressed before 10 am suddenly becomes such a joy. To shower, dry you hair and slap on some make-up makes you feel human again. It’s the doing it all with one hand that makes for the challenge.
There are many takes on Coronation chicken. The list of ingredients always seems somewhat overwhelming but it’s completely flexible and the process is quick and easy. You could even go as basic as using a leftover roast chicken, curry powder and mayonnaise…but then maybe it would have to be renamed schoolhouse chicken because it would hardly be fit for a Queen. I love the sweetness that a fresh mango adds and the crunch of the almonds but you could easily replace the fruit with apples or apricots and the almonds with hazelnuts. I used a half and half combination of fat free greek yogurt and mayonnaise to lighten it up a bit and I went easy on the spices since I know how boring people can be about spices.
So here it is, my belated toast the the Queen- God save her. Sorry I missed the Jubilee, you can blame the Itsy bitsy spider for that one. Or was it Old MacDonald?
Belated Jubilee Coronation Chicken
This is almost better when left for 24 hours before serving, but even a couple of hours will do. Leave out the almonds until closer to serving so that they keep their crunch. I like to serve this on sourdough toast, but in tea sandwiches with watercress is also fantastic. I have kept the spices pretty mild to keep the masses happy but I think things can always take a little more chilli.
for the stock
2 Chicken legs and thighs (around 650g/1lb oz)
1 celery stick, trimmed and cut in half
1 bay leaf
for the salad
1 small ripe mango, peeled and chopped (I like the sweet Indian mangos)
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 shallot or 2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli (optional), finely chopped
handful of parsley or coriander(cilantro), chopped
1/2 cup/ 50g toasted sliced or slivered almonds
for the dressing
50g/1/4 cup mayonnaise
50g/ 1/4 cup greek yogurt (fat free is fine)
Juice 1 lime (or lemon)
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp garam masala
ground black pepper to taste
• First poach the chicken. Place the legs and thighs into a large pot along with all of the other stock ingredients and cover with cold water. Bring up to a boil, then turn to a simmer, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Let gently bubble for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow the chicken to cool in the stock.
• Once cool, remove the chicken skin and bones and shred the meat. Strain the stock and keep for another use. Place into a large bowl along with the other salad ingredients.
• Mix together the dressing ingredients and stir into the chicken mix. Taste and check the seasoning.