Try this captain chicken tonight

Published 3:07 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

Country captain chicken is a curried chicken dish with ties to Southern port cities. Charleston and Savannah both take credit for this chicken dish since both cities invested in the spice trade. Stories of how it came to be, range from Southern sea captains bringing curry powder back from India, to an English skipper who, after falling for the dish while serving in Bengal, introduced it to Savannah or was it Charleston?

The curry cropped up in Junior League and community cookbooks in the South throughout the twentieth century, among them Charleston Receipts, first published in 1950; The Geechee Cookbook, published in 1956 by St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Savannah; and River Road Recipes, the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s 1959 cookbook. One of the earliest known recipes, though, was published in Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book in Philadelphia in 1857. Country captain was a favorite of General George S. Patton, and in 2000 the Pentagon gave him a nod when it included the dish in its provisions to soldiers in the field.

This recipe is from the “Glass Onion” a restaurant in Charleston. It is delicious and easy to prepare. It has a spicy and sweet taste because of the curry and hot sauce. Enjoy this dish and it was good for two meals.

Country Captain Chicken

Serves 4

1 whole chicken, rinsed and cut into 8 pieces

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped celery

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons curry powder

Few sprigs of fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

6 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with their juices

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon Crystal sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

½ tablespoon molasses

½ tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon tomato paste

½ cup raisins

4 cups steamed white rice

½ cup slivered toasted almonds for garnish

Sliced scallions for garnish

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in batches until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to paper towels to drain; set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon butter to saucepan along with onions, bell peppers, celery, bay leaf, curry powder, thyme and garlic. Cook mixture, stirring frequently until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken stock, hot sauce, Worcestershire, molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste, and remaining teaspoon salt. Stir to blend and reduce heat to medium. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Add raisins and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve hot over steamed white rice and garnish with slivered almonds and scallions.