Country Captain

As a child, my family spent holidays on Edisto Island in the low country of South Carolina. While many of our meals there consisted of nothing more than an enormous pile of boiled shrimp, potatoes, and corn, nearly every year my mother brought back at least one of the spiral bound cookbooks produced as fundraisers by local churches, women’s clubs, and other small charities. When I became interested in cooking, I learned a great deal from these books. There was much variation from one to another, but there was always one common thread. Every single book had at least one – and sometimes many – recipes for Country Captain. This incongruous dish – it is a chicken curry – is a classic in the low country towns and islands surrounding Charleston, as well as an easy, satisfying dish for a crowd.

Country Captain
(South Carolina style chicken curry)

Serves 4
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup raisins
1 green bell pepper
2 tbsp curry powder
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Peel, trim, and dice the onion.

Core, seed, and dice the green bell pepper.

Peel and mince the garlic. 

Sear chicken thighs, skin-side down, cooking until browned and most of the fat is rendered out (about 6 minutes). 

Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add butter to the chicken drippings.

Cook the bell pepper, onions, and garlic in oil until the onions just begin to brown. 

Add the curry powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute. 

Add the flour, mix well, and cook until the raw flour smell has disappeared (about 1 minute). 

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and raisins. Return chicken to the pan and and bring to a simmer. 

Transfer to the oven and cook uncovered for approximately 1 hour, occasionally basting the chicken with sauce.

Serve over long grained white rice, or good white corn grits.

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