Country Captain Chicken

Country Captain Chicken is one of my and Av’s favorite dishes to make at home. I make mine in my Le Creuset tagine but you could use any deep pan with a lid. The recipe below is my variation on it.

Country Captain Chicken may have originated when British colonials brought the recipe here (specifically perhaps to Savannah, GA) from India. John Egerton writes in “Southern Food, At Home, On the Road, In History” that Mrs. W.L. Bullard of Warm Springs, Georgia served the dish to FDR and General Patton, who loved it.

Here’s my recipe for Country Captain Chicken (serves 4):

Ingredients4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite-size pieces
Flour for breading (I always use White Lily)
Black Pepper
Olive oil for frying
One large Vidalia onion, cut into nice-size medium-large pieces
Two green bell peppers, cut into medium-large pieces
Two stalks of celery (optional)
Three cloves garlic
Curry powder
Large can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
Small can tomato paste
Two cups white rice, cooked
Give guests option of covering their dish with: peanuts, raisins, or almonds

Take cut pieces of chicken and put them in a ziploc bag of flour, salt, and pepper. Shake to coat thoroughly.

Heat olive oil in skillet to medium-high, add breaded chicken.

Country Captain Chicken 1
Cook chicken to a nice color, but don’t overcook – because the chicken will be added back to the pot simmering another twenty or so minutes at the end.

Remove cooked chicken to paper towel-covered plate to rest.

Country Captain Chicken 2
Turn heat down, let oil cool to medium heat. Add onions first – let them cook two-three minutes, then add garlic, bell pepper, and celery (optional) and cook that five or six minutes.

Country Captain Chicken 3
Add tomatoes and tomato paste to the onion/garlic/bell pepper/celery mixture. Cook another ten minutes.

Country Captain Chicken 4
Add chicken back to skillet and spice to your taste….lots of curry, then a little cumin, then some salt, back to the curry, etc. until it’s perfect.

Country Captain Chicken 5
Cover and simmer twenty or so minutes (pot in back is cooking rice, to the left of that is our Red Diamond – soon to be iced – tea brewing).

Country Captain Chicken 6
Serve over cooked rice. Offer guests peanuts, almonds, or raisins to top theirs with. Delicious!

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

Shavuot begins tonight, so for the *something dairy*, I made this great peanut butter pie. It’s very similar to other peanut butter pies I’ve made in the past, but the crust is different and better. This isn’t a completely ‘from-scratch’ recipe like I usually like to do, but it was yummy and quick.  Nobody always needs or wants or should be a food snob.  And who doesn’t like Nutter Butters, right?  This is summer…let’s take it easy.

I based this recipe from one called “Nutter Butter Frozen Peanut Butter Pie“.

For the crust:
Take 24 Nutter Butter cookies and place them in a freezer bag. Hit the freezer bag with a rolling pin (or whatever) to make the cookies into crumbles. Pour the crumbled NB’s into a good-size bowl and add 5-6 tbsp of melted butter. Mix well. Place this mixture into either a pie dish or other suitable-size dish. Once filled and even on the bottom, place in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Pie

For the filling:
Cream together one 8-oz package cream cheese, one cup of peanut butter, 3/4 cup of sugar. The original recipe called for a splash of vanilla, but I didn’t think that was necessary. Once that’s all incorporated, stir in 8-oz Cool Whip or freshly whipped cream.

Take the crust back out of the refrigerator, and spoon the filling over. Level it out on top. For a little something extra, you can melt a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a tablespoon of peanut butter, then drizzle that on top. Place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.

Peanut Butter Pie

Jerry Brown Pottery and Turbodog Chicken

Turbodog Chicken
Turbodog Chicken

About two years ago, Av and I drove to Hamilton (AL) and stopped at Jerry Brown’s pottery shop. Jerry Brown is a well-known Alabama potter who uses a mule-powered mill to help him pull clay up out of the ground, and he was also the recipient in 1992 of a National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship Award. There is a film about his pottery here.

At the shop, we bought a pot to cook chicken with. As you can see in the picture above, the pot has a cylinder shape in the middle. The idea is that you fill the cylinder shape up with orange juice or beer, or whatever you think might flavor the meat right for the dish you’re going to be serving.

What’s pictured above is my Jerry Brown chicken pot, a chicken that I’ve prepared with a coating of olive oil (to make the skin crisp) and a variety of herbs (I have one of those wonderful filled spice racks from Dean and Deluca that looks like a test tube rack, and for this dish I used the tube labeled ‘herbs for meat’ since it really does have a nice combination of herbs that flavor chicken and beef well), and a bottle of Turbodog to fill the cylinder about 3/4 full with.

Once the chicken is prepared for cooking, you just set him in the chicken pot with the cylinder up inside where you would otherwise put a stuffing.

Turbodog Chicken
Whee! I’m ready to be cooked!

I preheated the oven to 450* and cooked him about 1-1/2 hours. I put the rack on the lowest part of the oven to make room for the dish since it’s pretty tall.

I have to say, this is the best whole chicken I’ve made! The beer makes the breast meat especially juicy and delicious. No part of the chicken was dry – at all. Yum!

Turbodog Chicken
Cooling off a bit from the oven. Yummy!

I should also mention that you can cook chicken this way on the grill. Just take a can of beer, put it up inside the chicken, and let it cook that way. I’ll post pics of doing it that way later this summer.

New Hot Fudge Pie Recipe

Thanksgiving Pies

Each year, we make around 25 pies each Thanksgiving and Easter (as long as it doesn’t fall during Passover) for a local church that feeds the hungry in its neighborhood. This year, I made buttermilk coconut pies, key lime pies, pumpkin pies (okay, I just like pumpkin, even when it’s not Thanksgiving~!), and hot fudge pies.

Hot Fudge Pie:
1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour (I always use White Lily)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1-1/4 cup sugar
dash of vanilla
1 egg
sweet milk as needed
1 pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350*. Melt the butter in the microwave but let it sit out so that it cools to almost room temperature. Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the butter and the egg into the dry ingredients. Add a dash of vanilla. Add whole milk as needed to make a mixture that is easily able to be stirred – meaning that it’s not thin, but it doesn’t easily ‘glop’ together. Pour into pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes. I wouldn’t advise baking it until it’s incredibly firm, just cooked through until it maintains a good consistency, which you ought to get at 45-50 minutes. It is wonderful hot, and really good at room temperature.