Have you dined with the Country Captain? Or read one of Inglis Fletcher's novels? Both are a bit dated - having reached their popularity peak in the '50s. One, however, is making a comeback . . . and I think you'll be glad.
Country Captain is a chicken curry dish from the 1880s that is mostly associated with the coastal Carolinas and Georgia. It became famous after FDR and George S. Patton dined on it in Warm Springs, Georgia in the 1940s. For me, it has a connection with the author Inglis Fletcher because it's listed as her specialty for 'Sunday Supper Parties' in two local cookbooks.
You probably aren't familiar with Inglis Fletcher. She's widely known in North Carolina because she wrote a series of historical novels set in our state covering the years 1585 to 1789. She and her husband bought an 1804 plantation house outside Edenton, NC in the '40s and she was instrumental in many early preservation efforts in the state - from Tryon Palace to Bath to Edenton (where several outbuilding from her home now stand). Her 'Carolina Series' books, published from the mid-40s to 1964, were meticulously researched and are interesting reads - if you're a history or NC buff. Otherwise, they're typical for the era and as a result are not widely read or even known.
So this brings up to the second part of this story - the yummy Country Captain. Everyone from the Lee Brothers to the New York Times have featured recipes for this in recent years. I'm not sure why it's in the spotlight again - maybe just because it's so delish! Fletcher's recipes involved cutting up whole chickens and many modern recipes have unnecessary ingredients (like bacon - which I love, but it's really not needed here). I've come up with a simple and very yummy version that I think you'll like. This is like a vegetable soup, you can't really go wrong so my directions are not as precise as many recipes.
Preheat oven to 350
2-3 pounds chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
all-purpose flour for coating - seasoned w/ salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 24 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons currants or golden raisins
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (350 for 3-5 minutes)
Cut chicken into 2-3" pieces. Heat olive oil (EVOO) in large skillet over med-high heat (1 T. is probably enough to start). Lightly coat chicken pieces with flour, shaking off excess. Brown in EVOO on both sides - you may need to do this in batches, adding more oil and reducing heat as necessary. Remove chicken and place in baking dish.
Add onion, pepper, garlic and spices to skillet. Saute until softened then add tomatoes. Simmer until the pan is deglazed. Pour sauce over chicken and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Add raisins and bake 5-10 more minutes. (My husband hates raisins, but loves this - they plump up and are really sweet and unraisin-like.)
Serve with rice (saffron rice is really nice with this) and garnish with almonds. Parsley also adds a nice pop of color.