Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Country Captain Chicken- an exotic and easy curry

At first glance, country captain chicken would appear to be a southern dish conjured up to delight dinner guests with it's far eastern spice. In fact, this dish is an easy East India curry probably first served at an English table by an Indian soldier in service of the United Kingdom. While in the service of the UK, Indian troops were referred to as "sepoys". In their native India, they were called the "country troops". The "Captain" likely refers to a native captain of troops.

The earliest published recipe for country captain chicken according to Cecily Brownstone, a food columnist, was in 1857 in Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book. Early in the twentieth century Alexander Filippini, the chef at Delmonico's in New York City, was famous for making this dish with dried currents and slivered almonds, as it is generally prepared today and in my version. Ms. Brownstone, being a strong proponent of properly prepared country captain chicken, had an ally in the late James Beard, who taught this recipe to his students and eventually it made it's way into "The Joy of Cooking".

My Country Captain recipe aligns itself closely with Cecily Brownstone's. It comes from a wonderful cookbook: of the "365" series of cookbooks. In particular, this is from "365 Ways to Cook Chicken".


1/2 cup flower

1 chicken (3 lb.) cut up, or 3 lb. chicken thighs

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1/4 tsp. mace (or 1/4 tsp. nutmeg)

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/2 cup currants (or 1/2 cup golden raisins)

1/4 cup slivered almonds


Place flour in a shallow baking or pie dish. Dredge chicken to coat lightly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large dutch or cast iron oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on each side, about 10 minutes. Do this in batches to not over crowd the pan. Remove chicken to paper towel and set aside.

To the same pan, add onions bell peppers, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, pepper and mace. Stir to blend. Add tomatoes, parsley and raisins.

Bring to a gentle boil and return chicken to pan. Reduce heat and simmer partly covered for 40 minutes, until chicken is tender.

Serve over rice and garnish with almonds.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

This sounds absolutely delicious! I love the sound of the currents and almonds in there