Updated: May 12, 2020
Tangy, tasty, creamy and just a little bit spicy, this is the ultimate Coronation sauce
This dish takes me right back to the 80s and my childhood, when my mum would make this in massive quantities for various functions. It's the BEST Coronation sauce that you'll have ever tasted, I can almost guarantee it... and it's not just good with chicken, no, the original grease-stained, fading recipe that's still next to the Aga at mum's house suggests it goes well with fish and, wait for it, boiled eggs too. I leave that menu option open to you, but for my money it will forever be Coronation chicken sauce. Leave the eggs be.
This is a real larder then life classic, in that after the blitzing stage you can add pretty much anything to 'jazz it up' (a classic mum phrase to go with the classic mum sauce) - I'll suggest a few things, but it's up to you.
As much leftover roast chicken as you have
Olive oil, for frying
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Handful of coriander, finely chopped stalks and all, some leaves left for garnish
1 dessert spoon curry powder
1 tbsp tomato puree and 150ml water OR about 150ml passata OR V8 juice or whatever
Two decent slices lemon - about 1/2cm each at least
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp apricot jam
150ml natural yoghurt
Any sort of fruit and nut such as flaked almonds, dried apricots, sultanas, raisins, cashews, pumpkin seeds, spring onions - that sort of thing.
Start by gently frying the onion in the oil. You don't want to do this on too high a heat as the aim of the game is a nice gentle sweat. Once the onion is softened add the garlic and coriander and stir it around a bit and then add the curry powder and cook for a few minutes.
Add in the tomato puree and water, or passata if you're using that instead. You could use half a tin of chopped tomatoes or even a slug or two of V8 juice, whatever you have available. Just be aware that unless you want huge quantities of sauce, you don't need a whole 400ml tin. It feels wrong, but limit yourself to something around the 150-200ml mark. Having said that, this is an easily scaleable recipe and can keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week or so, so do go double on everything if it's easier. The original amount of sauce is easily enough to cover chicken pieces for four people.
Add in the two large slices of lemon and the bay leaf and let them simmer for a while. While they're doing that add in a huge tablespoon full of cheapo apricot jam. This will make it look all nice and shiny, which is fun.
Let it simmer for a few minutes, until the lemon has cooked down a bit and the inside of the slices has started to disintegrate. Don't let the whole mixture get too dry though. Once you're happy that it's had a good sizzle, take it off the heat and let it cool.
Now for the fun bit. Transfer the ENTIRE mixture to the food processor or a high-sided jug if you're using a stick blender. Do not take out the bay leaf or the lemons. I repeat, do not take out the slices of lemon and the bay leaf. Then blitzy blitzy until it's reasonably smooth.
Pop it back in a bowl and then add the mayo and yoghurt. The original recipe calls for 'half a pint of mayonnaise' which even makes me baulk a bit, but feel free to go ahead with the full-on mayo option if you like. Personally I feel slightly less like I'm heading to an early heart-attack-driven grave if I use at least half natural, low fat yoghurt. Having said that, you do need some mayo in it, just to give it that 80s je ne sais quoi.
Season to taste - you may need salt if you've gone heavier on the yoghurt than the mayo - and then set-to adding the bits you've found in the pantry. I liked the look of these sultanas, apricots, pumpkin seeds and spring onions, but would definitely recommend a nice flaked almond as a top choice.
Stir these in and then add your left over chicken. This can be white or brown meat, left over or cooked for the occasion. Just remember, in this dish at least, the chicken definitely comes before any sort of egg.
This recipe was given to my mum by our neighbour in about 1985. Mrs Wreford-Brown - I salute you for passing on what you simply referred to as 'Creamed Curry Sauce', half pints of mayonnaise and all. I admit to adding the coriander (not sure that was a thing in the 80s?), upping the tomato puree content from 1tsp to 1tbsp and splicing the mayo with yoghurt - otherwise it's all hers.
Coming soon - Mrs W-B's cheese biscuits... another 80s drinks party classic.