Saturday, March 09, 2013

Garden & Gun: Country Captain

Maybe I'm a bad Southerner, but I honestly didn't realize there was actually a magazine called Garden & Gun.  I mean, how strange of a title is that?  It's like having a magazine called Puppies & Grenades.  But my brother-in-law swears by it, so we'll go with it.

I'd heard about Country Captain before.  Something about the curry powder coming into the port at Charleston, making this a bit of an oddity.  I figured I'd try it.  I have no problem with wild foods, so why not.  I mean, that curry powder list is long.  It has to be good, right?  Well, the dish was pretty good, but I honestly felt like with all those spices, I should have gotten a little more dancing in my mouth.  I'm wondering if the long cooking time baked out my goodies.  Next time maybe I'll reserve some for the finish.

Country Captain
From Garden and Gun magazine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 whole chicken (cut into 10 pieces: wings, legs, thighs, and quarter breasts), patted dry with paper towels and seasoned with coarse salt and ground black pepper
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced green bell pepper
1 fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Homemade Curry Powder
2 cups good-quality canned tomatoes, chopped
1 cup tomato juice (reserved from can of tomatoes)
1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
½ cup seedless raisins 
Grated toasted fresh coconut

Place large ovenproof braiser 
or oval Dutch oven (in which the chicken fits in a single layer) over moderate heat, and melt butter and bacon fat until slightly foaming, about 3 to 5 minutes. Raise heat, add chicken, and brown well on all sides. Remove crisped pieces to platter, continuing until all pieces are golden brown.
Lower heat to moderate and add the onion, celery, peppers, and garlic, using a wooden spoon to stir well. Slowly add curry powder, stirring well to evenly coat all the vegetables, and cook until they are tender, stirring frequently, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, stock, and bay leaves, 
and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Bring liquid to simmer, return chicken to pot, and cover tightly.

Cook on top of the stove over low flame until chicken is cooked through, about 35 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Transfer chicken to beds of rice in shallow bowls, sprinkle with raisins and coconut and serve surrounded by condiments 
like thinly sliced scallions, crushed roasted peanuts or almonds, green tomato or apple chutney, pickled hot peppers, or pickled okra.

Homemade Curry Powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground clove
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch Colman’s mustard powder
1 pinch dried thyme

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