Country Captain ChickenMonday, August 22, 2005
Country Captain Chicken is one of my and Av's favorite dishes to make at home. I first got the recipe from A Gracious Plenty, a cookbook that culls recipes from a huge variety of Southern cookbooks. I make mine in my tagine but you could use any deep pan with a lid. The recipe below is my variation on it.
Country Captain Chicken may have originated when British colonials brought the recipe here (specifically perhaps to Savannah, GA) from India. John Egerton writes in "Southern Food, At Home, On the Road, In History" that Mrs. W.L. Bullard of Warm Springs, Georgia served the dish to FDR and General Patton, who loved it.
Here's my recipe for Country Captain Chicken (serves 4):
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite-size pieces
Flour for breading (I always use White Lily)
Olive oil for frying
One large Vidalia onion, cut into nice-size medium-large pieces
Two green bell peppers, cut into medium-large pieces
Two stalks of celery (optional)
Three cloves garlic
Large can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
Small can tomato paste
Two cups white rice, cooked
Give guests option of covering their dish with: peanuts, raisins, or almonds
Take cut pieces of chicken and put them in a ziploc bag of flour, salt, and pepper. Shake to coat thoroughly.
Heat olive oil in skillet to medium-high, add breaded chicken.
Cook chicken to a nice color, but don't overcook - because the chicken will be added back to the pot simmering another twenty or so minutes at the end.
Remove cooked chicken to paper towel-covered plate to rest.
Turn heat down, let oil cool to medium heat. Add onions first - let them cook two-three minutes, then add garlic, bell pepper, and celery (optional) and cook that five or six minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste to the onion/garlic/bell pepper/celery mixture. Cook another ten minutes.
Add chicken back to skillet and spice to your taste....lots of curry, then a little cumin, then some salt, back to the curry, etc. until it's perfect.
Cover and simmer twenty or so minutes (pot in back is cooking rice, to the left of that is our Red Diamond - soon to be iced - tea brewing).
Serve over cooked rice. Offer guests peanuts, almonds, or raisins to top theirs with. Delicious!