Country Captain Chicken Recipe
This dish is a regional classic that many natives either grew up eating all the time or have never heard of before.
This gorgeous chicken dish is one of those regional classics that many natives either grew up eating all the time or have never heard of before—but no one should miss out. It originated in the Lowcountry, that sunny area around Charleston and Savannah known for deep ports, salt marshes, and excellent cuisine. Country Captain Chicken has been a staple of Junior League cookbooks in the Southeast since at least the 1950s and is found in various forms in cookbooks from as far back as the 19th century. Chicken pieces are browned in butter or bacon fat and then braised in tomato sauce redolent with aromatic spices such as curry powder, nutmeg, and plenty of pepper. Lowcountry cooking often makes brilliant use of the spices that arrived aboard ships that sailed into the local harbors, perhaps with a country captain at the helm. This recipe was originally prepared with drumsticks, but we prefer using chicken thighs. The key to creating a depth of flavor in this dish is to use high-quality curry powder. It should be so fresh that opening the jar perfumes the kitchen.