Chicken Country Captain is a true old South classic. Chicken, onions, garlic, peppers, and curry powder with raisins and toasted almonds.
It's really hard to beat the classics. And this Chicken Country Captain is a true old South classic. When I tweeted last week that I was making it, I got a response back from a blogging friend saying "You ARE going old-school!" Yes, ma'am. I sure did. And I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I'm sure it has been at least thirty years since I had the dish known throughout the South as Chicken Country Captain. Of course, there are a few different versions, but whichever recipe you use, they all contain onion, bell pepper, garlic, curry powder and either raisins or currants.
Since I cannot find currants anywhere within reasonable driving distance of my house, I used raisins. Even though raisins start life as grapes and currants are actually berries, I don't think it makes a lot of difference in the taste of the final dish.
Craig Claiborne - Southern Cook Extraordinaire
The recipe I'm sharing with you today, with slight adaptations, is Craig Claiborne's Country Captain recipe from his wonderful cookbook, Southern Cooking. Mr. Claiborne was a nationally known food writer for The New York Times and author of many cookbooks. He was born and raised in Mississippi and had a lifelong association with southern cooking having learned the fundamentals in the kitchen of his mother's boardinghouse.
If you love southern cuisine and don't already have a copy of Southern Cooking, please try to find one straight away. Every recipe in it is familiar to me from my own experience with southern cooking and the stories of Mr. Claiborne's growing up and learning to cook are just priceless.
Regarding Country Captain, Mr. Claiborne says:
"No one knows precisely the origin of the dish known throughout Georgia and much of the South as country captain. The theory is that it was introduced to the port of Savannah by the captain of a vessel that plied the spice route from India in the early 1800s."
Makes sense to me. The combination of curry with tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic could easily have come from that part of the world.
How to Make Chicken Country Captain
Put the raisins into a small bowl with enough very hot water to cover them completely. Let them sit in the hot water and get nice and plump while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Prepare the chicken by salting and peppering it very well on both sides. Dredge it in flour and shake off the excess.
Now, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter along with the oil in a skillet large enough to fit all the chicken in a single layer. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove it and set it aside.
Pour out the cooking oil and wipe the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the onion, green peppers, garlic and curry powder.
Cook and stir the mixture until the vegetables are wilted. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture up to the boil and add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked through, drain the raisins and add them to the skillet.
Serve with cooked white or saffron rice, toasted almonds, and chutney (if desired) on the side.
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Chicken Country Captain
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 frying chicken (about 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces)
- 1 cup flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 cups canned tomatoes chopped
- Cooked rice
- Toasted silvered almonds
- Chutney optional
- Put the raisins into a small bowl with very hot water to cover. Let stand while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Salt and pepper the chicken well on both sides. Dredge in flour shaking off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and oil in a skillet large enough to fit all the chicken in a single layer. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Pour out the cooking oil and wipe the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the onion, green peppers, garlic and curry powder. Cook and stir until the vegetables are wilted. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture up to the boil and add the chicken pieces. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Drain the raisins and add them to the skillet.
- Serve with cooked white or saffron rice, toasted almonds and chutney (if desired) on the side.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.