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By MICHAEL POLLITT, Agricultural editor
Thursday, June 7, 2012
It was an award-winning diamond jubilee recipe fit for a Queen featuring a mouth-watering combination including Norfolk chicken and asparagus.
Retired Norwich chef Paul Bell won a national competition to design a successor to Coronation Chicken by adding strips of smoked Scottish salmon to his dish.
And yesterday, the long-term EDP reader, who won a prize of a stay in London over the jubilee weekend with his wife Christine, was invited to Prospect House to cook his dish – Paul’s Fish and Chicks Fit for a Queen.
Mr Bell, 67, who has more than 40 years’ experience as a chef, saw details of the Love Chicken competition in the EDP’s Farm & Country section earlier this spring and decided to enter.
“I thought: I’m going to have a go. It had to be an original idea, using a British chicken and had to be fairly simple.”
“I thought of various things and it suddenly came to me – combine strips of chicken with asparagus and Scottish smoked salmon.
“Then when you cut it in half, you’ve got the three colours – the smoked salmon goes pink like poached salmon; the green of the asparagus; and the white of the chicken with the crispy, golden brown of the breadcrumbs. It was really delicious,” he added.
“I sent the recipe off and then two weeks later I’d heard that it was the winner,” said Mr Bell, of Cozens Hardy Road, Norwich.
“We had a fantastic break in London and they even served my recipe at the five-star Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, with a bottle of champagne as well.
The judge, Steve Munkley, who is the head chef, was so impressed that he plans to feature the recipe on the menu.
Mr Bell, who said that the dish could be served hot or cold with a dish of mayonnaise, freshly-cut dill and a slice of lime, and cooked in a deep fat fryer or baked.
He studied catering at City College Norwich before joining the former Garden House Hotel in Cambridge. He then worked at the former Royal Hotel and Castle Hotel in Norwich before spending the last 25 years of his career as a pastry chef at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.
The organisers received many entries, which ranged from diamond jubilee chicken pies and quick treats for the barbecue to chicken poached in Earl Grey tea.
Award-winning Norfolk poultry farmer Nigel Joice told Mr Bell that he had urged colleagues at the Love Chicken website to run a competition to design a diamond jubilee recipe after the EDP’s agricultural editor Michael Pollitt had suggested it.
He was hugely impressed when the first batch of half a dozen were served.
“The texture is just beautiful,” said Mr Joice, who is a former poultry farmer of the year and rears birds for the table at South Raynham, near Fakenham.
“It is absolutely delicious, I love Norfolk asparagus, Norfolk chicken and Scottish smoked salmon.
“It is just a wonderful combination,” he added.
Mr Joice, who is the former vice-chairman of the National Farmers’ Union’s poultry board, even asked to take one away for his wife, Jenny, to sample.
EDP food writer Victoria Leggett was also impressed, saying: “It has got a lot of flavour and it’s quite subtle.
“It is not over-powering at all. The asparagus and chicken with the smoked salmon just adds a really lovely firm texture,” she added.
Mr Bell, who is a cousin of former farm minister Lady Gillian Shephard, has worked part-time at Tesco’s Blue Boar Lane superstore for the past seven years, hopes that his recipe might have some potential commercial appeal.
Kinsey Hern, of the NFU poultry board, said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the number of entries we had, with some fantastic recipes created to showcase not just British chicken, but a wide variety of British produce.
“The winning recipe is a simple but tasty dish.”
Paul’s Fish and Chicks fit for a Queen
Use either raw strips of chicken, about a finger’s width, or cooked chicken breast cut into strips.
Poach the asparagus, lay them together, and then wrap in thin slices of smoked salmon.
Coat in flour, egg and fresh breadcrumbs. Then deep fry the cooked chicken for about 30 seconds to a minute.
When a nice, golden brown, remove and serve with a half of a fresh lime.
The dip consists of mayonnaise and freshly-chopped dill.
It can be served hot or cold. It could be baked for an even healthier option. For more details and other recipes visit www.greatbritishchicken.co.uk