I love old recipes. I like finding them in the vintage cookbooks I adore…especially if they are handwritten in the fly leaf. Country Captain is one of these. There just aren’t many people that don’t love it once they taste it – an old, old recipe for a chicken curry type dish that has been popular in the Deep South for over 150 years.
What I wanted to see was if I could make it work in a slow cooker and if I could spice it up just a little. I started with a recipe that I had seen in Saveur.
I used chicken breast. I realize that using whole chicken cut up will add more flavor because of the bones but I rarely by anything but chicken breast. My family eats chicken breast really well… sometimes other parts not so much. You can use a whole chicken, cut up or chicken thighs if you don’t want to use chicken breast.
I also used, yes, a full pound of bacon. The smoky flavor meshed well and because I was using chicken breast the extra fat was a good thing. I also added a little jalapeno for bite. In retrospect I think chipotle would have been better and I will do that next time. The flavors here are warm and fresh, exotic and comforting all at the same time. It is a nice introduction to curry flavor for those that have not had it before. I used my crockpot. It just made it simple and kept the kitchen cool.
Before the chicken went into the crockpot I dredged it in flour and sauteed it in the bacon fat. This gave it a great color and flavor that held throughout the cooking time. I really think it was an important step.
You want to serve this with rice or even couscous. The meat is tender and the vegetables slump together in a melange of warm camaraderie. A sprinkle of toasted pecans on the top of each serving adds nice texture and a little flavor boost. I made my 6 qt crockpot full – but don’t worry… it freezes great!
Nice to have
Here are some items you will need to complete this dish. Just click on the picture for more details.
images: marye audet (c)2010