All the King's Horses
A trifecta of occasions coincide with this week's Friday Newsletter, and it's bursting at the seams with good stuff for your weekend ahead.
So, there’s apparently a coronation this weekend?
I don’t fully understand the mechanics of it, to be honest. As best I can tell, Charles became the “king” last September when the reigning monarch—his mother—Queen Elizabeth II died. But he doesn’t become the King until tomorrow, when England will hold a big fancy party with ceremonial swords and stones and Katy Perry and whatnot.
I guess it’s like how I became an architect—I fulfilled the technical requirements of licensure when I passed my final registration exam, but I didn’t spiritually become an architect until I bought my first pair of round-framed eyeglasses.
Whatever the mechanism, fine. Have your party, Chuck. You’ve been waiting a long time for this.
OF THIS MAN
to schedule his party
ON THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY??
It’s practically an act of war against the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The first Saturday in May is one thing, and one thing only. It’s Kentucky Derby time. To suggest it’s anything else? Who died and made you king, pal?
[producers whisper in my earpiece]
Right, right, Queen Elizabeth, we did cover that.
Nevertheless, as an actual official Kentucky Colonel, I will not stand idly and let this slight go unanswered. I demand satisfaction. Chuck wants to mess with our thing? I’m gonna mess with his thing.
One if by land, two if by sea. It’s Friday, folks, and I’ve got seven for you.
Today’s king-sized Friday slate includes:
an Americanized take on the official dish of coronation!
a bright, delicious and strong cocktail that hits three different occasions at once!
great music/book/movie recommendations!
a very important discussion prompt, pets, and more!
Riders up, friends.
7) A revolution, in chicken
There is a thing that I compelled to do from time to time in this part of the Friday Newsletter, wherein I conceive of a recipe first as a joke, and then work hard to turn a silly premise into an actually-delicious dish.
Today is one of those times.
You see, there’s a dish—you may have heard about it this week, as I’ve seen a few major food outlets offer their takes on it—called “Coronation Chicken”. It was first developed to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s ascent to the British throne in 1952, and it’s pretty basic: a curry-tinged chicken salad with dried apricots. It’s perfectly fine, if a bit boring.
The perfect thing for me to steal back with little bit of American ingenuity and flair.
But how would I Americanize it?
Would I stuff it inside a cheeseburger?
Roll it in a ball and deep-fry it?
Serve it as a garnish on a Bloody Mary somehow?
Then, a phrase appeared in my mind, as if by the kind of divine writ the royals like to claim: Coronation Chicken and Waffles.
Let’s talk components.
a) Smoked, Pulled Chicken
I don’t need to belabor this part. I rubbed chicken leg quarters and bone-in thighs with curry powder and salt, then smoked them over lump charcoal and applewood chunks until they were at 170F, cooled, and pulled the meat.
b) Curry Mayo
I followed the basic procedure in J. Kenji López-Alt’s perfect Two-Minute Mayonnaise recipe, but added a tablespoon of curry powder to the mix.
This would also be an excellent condiment for French fries, IMO.
c) Belgian Waffles
Once again to Serious Eats. Stella Parks’ Buttermilk Waffle recipe is reliable. I omitted the whole vanilla bean here, but otherwise followed it to the letter.
d) Apricot Sauce
Okay, enough external links—this one’s all me.
1 cup Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
I’m not always the biggest fan of Tabasco sauce, given the wealth of commercial hot sauces available these days, but it’s ideal here for its high concentration and relatively neutral flavor. Add the apricot preserves, honey, ACV, bourbon, salt and Tabasco to a small saucepan, and stir over medium-high heat until it just begins to bubble. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
This sauce would be absolutely excellent over grilled pork chops or fried chicken, btw.
I doubt you’ll go through with the whole thing I’m doing today, but if there is a takeaway, that should be it.
Get a waffle going in your waffle iron.
Mixed the pulled chicken with the curry mayonnaise until well-coated but not gloppy. Heat a skillet over high heat, and add the mixture in—the mayo will help the chicken crisp up nicely. Once it’s taken some good color, scoop a hearty helping of it over the finished waffle, and dress it with the apricot sauce.
Let’s see it.
Well, shucks. You might as well king me too, because this was royally good.
Savory, sweet, smoky, and just a little bit spicy? Charles could never.
7B) Hey, are you having a Derby party tomorrow?
First of all, you should. Even if you don’t care a bit about horse racing, it’s the perfect excuse to throw an afternoon party with silly hats and bourbon on a May Saturday.
Anyways, you should make my Salted Bourbon Brown Butter Derby Bars.
You will not regret it.
Now, let’s talk thematically-appropriate cocktails for this weekend.