Traditionally, the skin-on chicken pieces are dredged in flour and fried. Cooking light had a version that used boneless, skinless chicken breast to reduce fat and cholesterol. I wanted a happy in between if one could be had. I find plain chicken breasts in a dish like this to be dry and flavorless. I wanted to try and keep it reasonably healthy while still maintaining the integrity of this old southern classic. To that end I used legs and thighs, took the skin off (which I have never done in my life), marinated the chicken for 20-30 minutes with smoked paprika (not a traditional ingredient), a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I opted to not dredge in flour and fry but instead just added the chicken and cooked it with the rest of the ingredients. It turned out moist and flavorful and hopefully I made it a little healthier too.
This dish is also traditionally quite bland, really, but I really liked the basic ingredients and decided it could be amped up pretty nicely. Boy was right about this one. I took some ideas from an Emeril recipe and then added some Spanish chorizo, and a couple of jalapenos! Life can be sooooo good when you listen to the voices in your head! I don't usually rave about my own cooking because I tend to be a perfectionist and since perfection is rarely, if ever, reached well I'm always at least a little let down by the finished product because it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Well this recipe delivered, for me, on all fronts. It's savory, sweet and spicy (not too much so) and with the toasted almonds and rice...I don't know this really turned out be a knock out dinner. Manly and Michael couldn't stop eating it and I received kudos all around. I actually can't wait to make it again...it's THAT good! You will love this. Enjoy!
Recipe: My Riff On Country Captain Chicken
Both South Carolina and Georgia lay claim to this Southern classic, which may have been brought to America by a ship's captain ferrying spices from the Far East. For a little more history see after the recipe.
Cooked White Rice
Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)
1/3-1/2 cup whole almonds toasted and chopped, set aside for garnish
4 or 5 chicken thighs and 4 or 5 drumsticks or the equivalent, patted dry
Salt, Pepper, Smoked Paprika sprinkled liberally over chicken
About 2-3 tablespoons olive oil drizzled over the spice.
Then rub it all in to the chicken. Set aside and let marinade 20-30 minutes.
In a large pot or dutch oven add
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over med-high heat.
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped poblano peppers (green peppers are traditional but I don't like them)
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded or not depending on how spicy you like things, minced
2 bay leaves
1-2 tablespoon curry powder (vary this to suit your taste, I used all 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
1-28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, with their juices
1/2 cup chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Salt and Black pepper to taste
Stir to blend and reduce the heat to medium. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender but not falling from the bones, about 50 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of currants and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot over the steamed white rice. Garnish with the almonds and yogurt sauce and serve.
Recipe: Yogurt and Herb Sauce:
Make this ahead and refrigerate so the flavors meld a bit.
1 cup non or low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
5 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
3 tablespoons Major Grey's Mango Chutney
***(start with 1 tablespoon then add more to taste; you can substitute honey here).
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl combine the first 4 ingredients, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
A Brief History of Country Captain Chicken
The Hobson Jobson Dictionary states the following:
COUNTRY-CAPTAIN. This is in Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We can only conjecture that it was a favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ who were themselves called ‘country captains,’ as in our first quotation. In Madras the term is applied to a spatchcock dressed with onions and curry stuff, which is probably the original form. [Riddell says: “Country-captain.—Cut a fowl in pieces; shred an onion small and fry it brown in butter; sprinkle the fowl with fine salt and curry powder and fry it brown; then put it into a stewpan with a pint of soup; stew it slowly down to a half and serve it with rice” (Ind. Dom. Econ. 176).]
This delicious dish, known throughout Georgia, dates to the early 1800s. It is thought that this dish was brought to Georgia by a British sea captain who had been stationed in Bengali, India and shared the recipe with some friends in the port city of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah was then a major shipping port for the spice trade. The dish was named for the officers in India called “Country Captains.”
In the 1940s, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States and General George S. Patton (1885-1945), U.S. Army General, were served this dish in Warm Springs, Georgia, by Mrs. W. L. Bullard. Their praise and love of this dish helped to rekindle its Southern classic status. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who first gave national recognition to Warm Springs when, in 1924, he visited the town's naturally heated mineral springs as treatment for his polio related paralysis. Roosevelt was so enchanted with Warm Springs that he built the only home he ever owned here - a modest, six room cottage called the Little White House which served as a relaxing, comfortable haven for him.
Copied from What's Cooking America (dot) net.