Tuesday, 3 April 2012

'Victims Of Their Own Success' #3 (in a series): Coronation Chicken

The buffet.

Not sure how I feel about a buffet. On the one hand, there is the argument that a table groaning with platters of tasty, attractively laid-out delights is a feast for the eyes and an unrivalled chance to scoff a wide range of things - which you wouldn't normally get to do with a stuffy sit-down meal.

On the other hand, the buffet can also be a selection of same-same salads and cold cuts, which, although exciting for the first minute you lay your eyes on it, really is less than the sum of its parts. ie a load of food which you wouldn't want to eat at any other time anyway, and which has been hanging around unrefrigerated for an hour longer than is good for it.

My old man, Mr Ribeye Sr., LOVES a buffet - I'll bet he never sits down to a meal at home. He's such a picker - constantly eating but doesn't ever have a plate in his hand (or a fork.Yuck). But who can blame him? As soon as you pile stuff onto your own individual plate, it looks terrible. Why would you want to eat chicken, salmon, salami, pasta salad, bread and cheese on one plate, all piled up like a Dali-esque, surrealist, mayonnaise-coated sculpture?

The only buffet I actually adore is the rubbish salad bar at crappy restaurant chains, like Pizza Hut or the Harvester. I have no idea why I get so irrationally excited about covering a load of iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes in Thousand Island dressing and soya bacon bits, because I'd never normally buy any of these ingredients for consumption at home (actually, that probably is the reason). Crazy.

My wife, Mrs Ribeye, loves carvery restaurants - you know the ones, with a fat jolly chef behind a counter cutting up a turkey the size of a Volkswagen, and a dessert menu featuring 'bottomless custard'. To be honest, I don't think she likes carveries, because she never really eats much of a main course. She just likes custard.

Anyway, why bang on about buffets? Well, the buffet is the battle scene for a true 'victims of their own success' dish: Coronation chicken. No right-minded 1970's buffet table would be complete without a tureen of good old cozza chicken. In fact, 1970's buffet tables normally contained at least six curry-flavoured mayonnaise dishes - remember curried eggs, with the piped yolks etc?

Anyway, thanks to its popularity all over middle class England, the supermarket buyers latched onto the phenomenon to create those disgusting pots of deli sandwich fillers (don't get me started again) in the noble name of 'coronation chicken'. Don't buy them - they're fowl.

For my recipe, I combined a few bits from that other 70's classic, the Waldorf salad, and the result is brilliant. For a true retro-style treat, pile the chicken up on a melba toast cracker and top with a half moon of cucumber (see my pic at the top - that is my very own hand by the way, not a stuntman's) and serve with drinks. I eat mine while dancing to the Bee Gees.

I use free range chicken thighs at £2 for four, which makes this dish a 1970's priced bargain at 20p per melba toast canape.

Makes enough for 20 canapes


4 large chicken thighs
1 apple, cored and finely chopped
25g sultanas
25g pine nuts
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of mango chutney
100ml mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of mild curry powder

Melba toast crackers, to serve
Cucumber, sliced into fine half moons, to serve

Cook the chicken thighs in boiling water until cooked (30-45 minutes approx) and remove the skin and bones. Break the chicken up into small pieces and place in a bowl to cool to room temperature. Mix the chicken with the rest of the ingredients and chill. To serve, pile some chicken onto a melba toast cracker and top with a half slice of cucumber.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, looking forward to getting your ideas, suggestions and recipes here at Potless Towers. Leave a comment and we'll get straight back to you.