Gizzi Erskine’s coronation chicken

Emma Moran

Senior Press Officer, John Lewis

Designed exclusively for John Lewis Oxford Street

John Lewis Oxford Street is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation this summer by joining forces with chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine to create a contemporary version of coronation chicken that will be exclusively served in John Lewis’s Brasserie as part of a Coronation afternoon tea this summer.

Six decades after the original coronation chicken recipe was invented for the Queen’s coronation banquet in 1953, Gizzi Erskine, who recently released a new cookery book Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts and is best known for presenting Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin, has created Coronation chicken with watercress and mango salsa. The modern twist on the recipe includes poaching chicken in a saffron scented stock, and adding fresh mango and chilli salsa for extra flavour.

Gizzi Erskine said: “This really is another exciting year for the UK and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to recreate the classic coronation chicken. I’ve tried everyone from Mrs. Beeton’s to Delia Smith’s recipes and it’s the ability to reflect on all of these that I feel has given me the best results. Start with poaching chicken in a saffron scented stock, cook off aromatics and spices in a spice mix, use half mayonnaise and half Greek yoghurt and then finish with fresh mango, chilli salsa and fresh watercress – the perfect recipe for the royal celebrations.”

Gizzi Erskine’s coronation chicken with watercress and mango salsa and the accompanying Coronation afternoon tea is available in the John Lewis Brasserie until 30 August 2013.

Gizzi Erskine’s coronation chicken with
watercress and mango salsa

Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Cooling time 3 hours

Poaching the chicken

1 chicken [approx 1.5kg]
2 onions [peeled and thinly sliced]
4 thin slices of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
5 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
Pinch saffron
1 bay leaf

The dressing

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion [very finely chopped]
2 cloves garlic [peeled and grated]
3cm knob of ginger [peeled and grated]
2 tablespoons good curry powder [Madras]
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
200ml mayonnaise
200ml Greek yoghurt
5 tablespoons of good quality mango chutney

Gizzi Erskine

To garnish
Olive oil for drizzling
2 bunches of fresh watercress or 2 gem lettuces [shredded]
1 ripe but firm mango [very finely chopped]
1-2 red chillies [seeded and very finely chopped]
1 tablespoon fresh coriander [very finely chopped]
50g flaked almonds [toasted]


1. Pop the chicken, breast-side up, in a large pan with the onions, sliced ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, saffron, salt and bay leaf. Fill with cold water until only the top of the breast is exposed. Cover and simmer, turning down to a low heat so only the occasional bubble rises to the surface. Cook  gently for about one hour or until the juices run clear.  Allow to cool completely in the cooking juices. 

2. The dressing, heat the oil in a small frying pan, fry the onion very slowly for about 1 minute or until softened and tinged gold. Add the garlic and ginger for a further minute. Mix in the curry powder, and toast until fragrant. Leave this to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Blend until smooth. 

3. In a large bowl, mix together the dressing with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt and mango chutney.  

4. Once the chicken is cold shred into bite sized chunks. Do this with your hands, really feathering out the meat. 

5. Mix 3/4 of the dressing [step 3] with the chicken coating evenly.

6. Mix together the mango, chilli and coriander in a small mixing bowl as this will be the garnish.

7. To serve, spread your choice of bread with a tiny bit of the excess dressing, top each with some watercress or shredded lettuce, then the coronation chicken,  the mango salsa [step 6] and toasted almonds.