Diamond Jubilee Chicken
OK so I’m not a Royalist or a Republican but since I moved away from the Motherland 6 years ago I have become a little more patriotic. This year is a special year in the life of the United Kingdom and I wanted to commemorate the fact that Lizzie has spent 60 years being the Queen of England.
Whatever your thoughts on the monarchy you can’t deny that 60 years service is a pretty impressive achievement. I’m hanging out for 10 years long service leave and I’ll be amazed if I last that long with the same employer, but to do 60 years in the same job is pretty incredible. So on that note, I couldn’t let the Diamond Jubilee celebrations pass without a little mention on here and I don’t need much of an excuse to cook a nice meal.
Queen Elizabeth took over the job when her father died in February 1952 but she wasn’t formally crowned until the Coronation on June 2nd 1953. To celebrate the occasion a new dish was created called Coronation Chicken: a creamy blend of chicken, mayonnaise and curry powder with a few raisins and almonds thrown in for good measure; served cold, either on it’s own or as a sandwich filling.
Jubilee celebrations are an excuse for friends and neighbours to get get together and throw a street party or barbeque. That means you have to put on a good spread of British food. To add to the celebrations for the subsequent jubilee celebrations, Coronation chicken was updated for the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and again this year for the Diamond Jubilee. I searched around for inspiration and found offerings from a variety of chefs, none of which tempted me, as they mostly involve pairing chicken with mayonnaise and fruit, which goes against my strict food rules.
In his latest book, Jamie Oliver provided the closest version of this dish that I would eat. However, pineapple and cucumbers are two ingredients you won’t find in any recipes on this blog. So I adapted the flavours inspired by my new found love of Thai cuisine. The original dish was based on the flavours of the Empire, which in post war Britain amounted to the exotic curry powder but today I can afford to splash out on fresh ingredients such as garlic, coriander, lime and chilli. This is a great salad to be served as part of a Jubilee street party or barbeque salad and is adapted from Jamie’s Great Britain. I think Jamie has nailed this one with the toasted cashews and crispy chicken skin – sorry, this is not a dish for my healthy Australian friends!
Diamond Jubilee Chicken (serves 6-8)
8 chicken thighs, skin on (this is important!)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of cashew nuts
1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
1 handful of snowpeas (mangetout)
8 spring onions
1 fresh red chilli
200g creme fraiche
small bunch fresh coriander
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. To make the marinade, put the coriander seeds, grated ginger and garlic, shredded kaffir lime leaf, salt and pepper into a bowl. Add the lime juice and olive oil to make a loose paste, you made need to adjust the quantities depending on how juicy your lime is. Slash the meat on the chicken thighs to allow the marinade to penetrate the flesh. Rub the majority of the marinade into the flesh coating the skin briefly. You could leave this to marinade for up to an hour in the fridge, but I didn’t have time, so I just put it in a roasting tin, skin side up, drizzled the skin with a tiny bit more olive oil then put in the the pre-heated oven to roast for 50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and comes away from the bone easily.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Finely slice the radishes, snow peas and spring onions and chilli and set aside.
To make the dressing combine the creme fraiche with the juice of one lime. I added the lime juice gradually as you may not need all of it. Stir through some chopped fresh coriander, reserving some leaves for the garnish. Season to taste.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the skin from the thighs in one piece. Place the skin upside down on a clean baking tray and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cashew nuts. Put back in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the skin is really crispy and the cashew nuts are starting to brown. Do not forget them, as they will burn easily.
Remove the chicken from the bone and shred into large chunks with a fork. Discard the bones, fat and gristle. Pour the fat and juices from the pan into a jug, discarding the fat and keeping all the sticky juices and cooked ginger and garlic. In a bowl, combine the chicken meat with the leftover juices, garlic and ginger. Then add the sliced radish, snowpeas, spring onion and chilli and stir through 3/4 of the creme fraiche dressing.
To serve, place the chicken mixture on a platter and scatter with the cashew nuts and chopped crispy chicken skin, followed by some of the reserved coriander leaves and the last of the creme fraiche dressing. Perfect as part of your Jubilee street party spread.