Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Country Captain

Country Captain is a delicious curry dish that came to America via British captains who traveled to the port of Savannah, Georgia. Others say a Philadelphia chef first made it and it became a southern dish when he moved to South Carolina. Apparently served to FDR in the 1940's, the dish became a popular dish all over the USA at that time. As a "Northerner" I had never heard of this dish. I decided to try it when I purchased delicious curry powder from Penzey's Spices.

I adapted Emeril Lagasse's recipe to create a delicious meal in around 30 minutes. Using Penzey's curry powder is the secret. Don't use cheap curry powder! If you like it hot, use all hot curry. I made this with half hot and half sweet. Next time I will try 100% hot curry. I cannot believe how tasty this is! The family gave it a resounded thumbs up!

3/4 c. flour
3/4 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter (divided)
1 c. onions, chopped
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c. celery, chopped (about one stalk)
1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
1 Tbsp. HOT or SWEET Curry Powder (or half and half) (add more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. crushed garlic cloves (about 3 large cloves)
28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 c. chicken broth (plus more to add during cooking)
1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 c. golden raisins
Toasted sliced almonds
Jasmine rice

Cut chicken into 1-2 inch chunks. Combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a dish. Dredge chicken thoroughly into the flour mixture. Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large frying pan. Add chicken to hot oil and brown on all sides (about 5-7 minutes total). Remove from pan and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Chicken will not be cooked completely at this point.

Add 1 Tbsp. of butter to the pan to melt. Add onions, pepper, celery, bay leaf, curry powder, thyme, and crushed red pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook about 1 more minute until you smell the garlic. By now, you should smell the wonderful curry scent wafting through the house!

Add tomatoes with the juice, the chicken broth, and brown sugar. Bring to boil and taste to adjust salt and curry amounts. Then add the chicken. Turn to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point start your rice. Chicken should be tender and completely cooked. Add more chicken broth if it gets too thick. Add raisins and cook another 10 minutes. Serve over Jasmine rice and sprinkle with sliced, toasted almonds. Can serve with naan bread for mopping up the juice!

To make Jasmine rice, be sure to rinse the rice 3 times before cooking. It will make the rice nice and fluffy!

Makes about 6 servings.

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