How Prue Leith Updated Queen Elizabeth's Classic Coronation Chicken

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Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 — she would go on to become the longest-serving English monarch until her death last year, according to The Royal Family. Retrospectively, 1953 has become an important year for the United Kingdom, making the Queen's coronation all the more special. 

During that time, Le Cordon Bleu, which was merely two decades old then, was tasked with creating a dish that would become the emblem of the occasion. The dish was introduced to the guests (mostly from other countries) as Poulet Rein Elizabeth, which is also known as coronation chicken.

The flavors in the dish are rather ornate. According to The Guardian, the sauce for the coronation chicken is made from onions softened in oil, curry powder, tomato puree, and red wine. It is boiled and seasoned with salt, sugar, pepper, and lemon juice. The chicken is poached with thyme, peppercorns, parsley, carrots, and bay leaf. When the chicken returns to room temperature, it is mixed with mayonnaise, the sauce, apricot puree, then lightly coated with whipped cream. 

For decades this dish has remained a mainstay of many buffets and is a quick fix at homes. Over this time, the classic dish has received its fair share of makeovers. One of them comes from the "Great British Baking Show" host, Prue Leith, who has given it a contemporary spin.

Prue Leith's toast to the classic dish

Prue Leith, an alumna of Le Cordon Bleu, has tailored the dish into a chicken salad spread — headlined by mangos and avocados instead of apricot — meant for warm toast (via People). To make the recipe, which appears in her book "Bliss on Toast," start by mixing together mayonnaise, curry powder, lime, and water to form a thin sauce. 

Use half of the mixture to coat the chicken, mango, scallions, and mango chutney. Then, slice up an avocado, place it on your slices of toast, and top it with the updated coronation mix. Garnish with cilantro and if the dish tastes plain, Leith recommends adding extra lemon and curry powder.

Apart from Leith's version, Le Cordon Bleu itself has refashioned the dish for contemporary taste buds. Instead of shredding the chicken, it is wrapped in plastic wrap, poached, then sliced, and served over rice with a rich curry sauce. You could also attempt coronation chicken pasta in which the curry sauce is rendered a thick consistency and uses turmeric.