Sunday, April 9, 2017

Country Captain by Tom

One - Pot Chicken with Spices - Southern style

I volunteered to cook after our almost week-long trip to Dayton, Ohio.  Recently Barbara found a magazine titled "Southern Cast Iron", which featured this recipe.  She also had just received a number of cast iron skillets from my mother as we cleaned out her kitchen.  Unfortunately, the recipe I used called for a covered 12" skillet, which we did not have.  Skillet yes, cover no.  So I made this one-pot dish in a heavy stainless steel oven-proof skillet that I did have a cover for.

But first, what is Country Captain?

Per Wikipedia, Country Captain is a curried chicken and rice dish, which is quite popular in the Southern United States.  It was first introduced to the U.S. through Charleston, Savannah, New York and Philadelphia by sea captains returning from India. It traces its origins to India cuisine and features curry.

The recipe I used is said to have been introduced by a British sea captain landing in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1700s.  But Southerners have made this dish their own.

Now I have made it, and I must say, it is quite good.


Country Captain
(from Southern Cast Iron magazine)

Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed (about 1 1/2 pounds) 
4 chicken drumsticks
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups Carolina Gold Rice or any other white long-grain rice
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped and toasted almonds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350.

Add the oil to the 12" skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and brown the chicken.  This will take 8-12 minutes.  Do sprinkle the chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper as you are browning the chicken.  Once the chicken is sufficiently browned, transfer the chicken to a plate.
Next add the onion, green bell pepper and celery to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  This will take 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. 

Stir in the rice.

Next add the brown sugar, curry powder, ginger, paprika, and red pepper.
Stir in the chicken broth, raisins and the remaining salt and pepper.  Nestle the chicken pieces into the rice mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cover the skillet and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.  Check to make sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Also check the rice to see how wet it is.  If it is still wet, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, which I needed to do.
Remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts.  Remember the handle will be hot!  Take the chicken out of the pan and add the drained tomatoes and vinegar.  
Gently fluff the rice mixture with a fork to distribute the tomatoes and vinegar.
Now put the chicken back into the skillet.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Toast the chopped almonds at this stage.  Watch carefully to insure they do not burn.
After the 10 minutes are up, sprinkle the dish with the almonds and the chopped parsley.

It is now ready to serve.  I made a prepackaged cauliflower in a cheese sauce to go with the dish.

So there you have it.  Country Captain.  A one-pot Indian inspired chicken and rice dish.


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