Chicken Royale

John Hooton

Croydon, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

This is my take on a coronation chicken with a few modern refinements such as fresh mango and homemade mayonnaise. Starting the night before, I prepared it for a light buffet to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate. This delicious recipe makes a dish fit for a 21st-century king and queen (and the rest of us too!)

Chicken Royale (serves 6)

For the Royale
6 Chicken Breasts
1 Cinnamon Stick
Some Black Peppercorns
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Lime
500ml Greek Style Yoghurt
4cm Piece of Fresh Ginger
4 Bay Leaves
1 Fresh Mango
2 tsp good quality Sweet Mango Chutney
50g Ready-to-Eat Dried Apricots, Chopped
50g Sultanas
5 heaped tsp Mild or Medium Curry Powder
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
300ml Homemade Mayonnaise
50g Flaked Almonds, Toasted
Small Bunch Fresh Coriander, Chopped
Lemon Wedges

Basmati Rice and Green Salad to serve

For the Rice
1 heaped tbsp Cumin Seeds
A few Peppercorns
25g butter
2 cups Basmati Rice
3 Cups Water

For the Mayonnaise
1 Egg
2 heaped tsp Wholegrain Mustard
Good dash of White Wine Vinegar
Juice of half a Lemon
Pinch of Salt
350ml of Sunflower Oil

Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Grate about two heaped teaspoons of fresh ginger and put it in a large dish. Add two heaped teaspoons of curry powder, the turmeric and coriander powder. Add the juice of one lime and about 200ml of the yoghurt. Season with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp of black pepper. Mix everything well, then add the chicken pieces. Cover and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

Cooking the Chicken:
Take a large deep sided pan with a lid and put the marinated chicken breasts in along with the cinnamon stick, some peppercorns, salt, and the bay leaves. Cover and cook for about ten minutes then cook for a further ten minutes with the lid off to evaporate the excess water content. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves and allow to cool.

Cooking the Rice:
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry a tablespoon of cumin seeds for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and fry on medium heat for a further 3 minutes stirring all the time. The rice will puff slightly and go to a white opaque colour. This is guaranteed to keep the rice grains separate. Add three cups of water, a level teaspoon of salt and a few peppercorns. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes. (I usually do 10 but 15 seems better for large quantities). Remove the lid and leave on low heat for a further five minutes. Allow to cool for about ten minutes, then tip the rice into a large bowl and gently turn it every ten minutes with a wooden spoon to aid cooling.

Making the Royale:
Take a large bowl and add a couple of heaped teaspoons of finely chopped fresh ginger. Add two teaspoons of sweet mango chutney, 3 heaped teaspoons of curry powder, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Peal the mango, slice it off the stone and cut it into small cubes and add to the bowl. Add the chopped apricots and sultanas, 300ml of yoghurt and the homemade mayonnaise. Fold in the cooled cooked chicken mixture. Cover and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Homemade Mayonnaise:
Add the ingredients in the order listed to a tall glass. Blitz for about 15 seconds with an electric hand blender using the aerating attachment if it has one. Taste and adjust with more vinegar or lemon juice if necessary and a further quick blitz. This is a delicious creamy and very light mayonnaise.

Finishing the Chicken Royale:
Toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan on high heat. Take the Royale from the fridge and fold in the freshly chopped coriander. Add lemon wedges, the toasted flaked almonds and some torn coriander for garnish and serve with the rice and a green salad. A glass of chilled champagne or sparkling wine would go well with this if you feel so inclined!

Technical Details:

Camera: Nikon D3
Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 56mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/16
Lighting: Daylight
Post Processing: Lightroom 3

All images © 2011 John Hooton Photography

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