Sweet and crunchy with a bit of curry, this recipe will make you reconsider how fresh and flavorful a chicken salad can be.
I have a real aversion to cold salads like chicken, tuna, and ham. Why are they ground up and mushy like cat food? And then they’re drowned in a disgusting amount of mayonnaise. Can someone explain the appeal? Because I don’t get it. I still have nightmares of these kinds of tuna and macaroni salads from family picnics as a kid.
But hey, it turns out chicken salad doesn’t have to be terrible. After watching the first season of The Crown and searching online to find out how accurate everything was, I learned about this chicken salad. The salad served for the lunch banquet at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. And it sounded so good I had to give it a try.
what is coronation chicken salad made of?
Coronation chicken salad combines cooked chicken with dried apricots, herbs, and nuts in a creamy curry sauce. It’s a little sweet thanks to the dried fruit, but crunchy thanks to the nuts and peppers. Then there's plenty of flavor thanks to the curry powder. I use a super mild curry powder here, and it's actually a little sweet. So if you’re not into spicy food, no need to worry.
Curried chicken salads are common in England, but no so much here in the US. Though it is eaten in the same fashion, either as a cold salad or as a sandwich filling.
In the nearly seventy years since the dish was first served, there have been plenty of variations on the original coronation chicken recipe. Of course, I had to make one of my own, with one of my main differences being that I replaced the mayonnaise with yogurt. I do this whenever I can. Mayo is a little tangy and creamy, just like Greek yogurt, so I find that it usually works well as a substitute. The fat content isn’t the same, but I think the replacement works wonderfully for this salad, which has plenty of flavorful components. I bet it helps to create a creamier sauce than mayo anyway.
how do you make chicken salad from scratch?
It’s simple. I know many people buy these kinds of salads from delis or take out counters, but you can make it at home with leftover cooked chicken. You could also cook up some chicken very simply, either grilled, roasted, or pan-fried. I like to cut the chicken into larger pieces rather than grind it up or chop it finely. The chicken is combined with some chopped bell pepper, cilantro, almonds, and apricots in this recipe.
You toss it all in a quick sauce that’s made by sauteing some red onion in butter and flavoring it with tomato paste, curry powder, broth, lemon juice, and wine. Yogurt and a little cream are added before everything is mixed together. That’s about it.
It’s a simple meal for an evening where you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen. Yet, it still manages to feel classy. If it was good enough for the Queen, it’s probably good enough for us. I like to serve it over some fresh salad greens and call it dinner. The next day, when the flavors have had some time to meld, it would be awesome served for lunch on crusty bread.
how long will chicken salad keep in the fridge?
I say up to three days. What I like about this particular recipe is how fresh and crunchy it is. It’s nothing like the salads I used to know. But letting it sit too long will make it soggy and sad. If you’re using previously cooked chicken, you’ll want to use your best judgment for the salad's shelf life, depending on how old the chicken is when you make the salad.Print