Easy Country Captain
Country Captain is a classic Southern dish, with roots in India, that deserves a revival. I remember eating this as a kid way back when - I'm not saying how far back, but it's considerable. I was looking through an old church cookbook from the 70's and the memories flooded back and made my mouth water; I knew I had to make it! So what if you're not a fan of Indian food or curry? Don't worry, Country Captain is so jammed pack with fusion flavors that the curry simply elevates instead dominating. It's a favorite of many well known Southern chefs and I hope it will be one of yours too.
What is Country Captain?
Country Captain is a thick stew and rice dish that started in India and probably came to the Southern United States through the ports of Savannah and Charleston as ships returned from spice trade routes. An interesting side note, FDR first had it at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, where he found relief in the local waters for his Polio. He in turn introduced it to Patton who loved it. To honor the General, the Army had it added as a MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) ration for the troops in 2002.
How do you make Country Captain?
A little bit of time is required for Country Captain but it truly is easy. Using a vegetable chopper will cut down on prep time and ensure uniform pieces for even cooking. You can find them just about anywhere and the varying prices will fit any budget. I use mine so often that I hardly ever have the chance to put it away.
Start by chopping your vegetables: bell pepper, onion, and carrots. Then chop your basil, parsley, and garlic. Measure out your paprika, curry, oil, and raisins and then you're ready to get started on your chicken. Take the chicken thighs (if you don't like dark meat, you can certainly substitute chicken breasts but I recommend the flavor of the thighs), coat them in a little flour with the paprika mixed in and brown them on all sides in a fairly hot, deep skillet; about 3 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken from the pan to rest while you sauté your vegetables.
Add in your spices and tomatoes and stir well. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for about 20 minutes while you make the rice and toast the almonds.
Add the almonds to a dry non-stick frying pan and toast over medium-high heat, tossing or stirring to make sure you get all sides. Don't walk away as they will go from raw to burnt quickly.
Serve over a rice of your choice and enjoy this favorite from days gone by.
Other chicken recipes to try:
- Classic Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
- Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing
- Chicken Piccata
- Apple Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Breast
Easy Country Captain
- Deep skillet
- ⅔ cup AP flour
- 1 rounded teaspoon Paprika
- 6 chicken thighs boneless, skinless and trimmed
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 bell pepper chopped (or combination of red, yellow and/or green)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced or chopped
- ¼ cup each fresh parsley & basil chopped
- 1 Tbs curry powder
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 oz sliced almonds toasted *optional
- 3 scallions chopped *optional
- Combine flour and paprika in a shallow dish.
- Salt & pepper the chicken thighs, then coat each piece in the seasoned flour
- Heat oil in a large skillet and then brown the chicken thighs, about 3 minutes each side on medium-high heat
- Remove the chicken from the skillet. Add in the butter, bell pepper, onion, carrots and garlic and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, until soft.
- Add in the curry, tomatoes, stock, raisins, and parsley & basil; stir well
- Add chicken back into the skillet and simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the rice
- Serve over rice and garnish with toasted almonds and scallions