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Country Captain

Country Captain

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
Juice of 4 lemons
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, plus 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup curry powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and chopped
3/4 cup white wine
2 pints grape tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (2-ounce) package fresh basil, leaves stripped

Cooked white rice, for serving
Slivered almonds, for serving
Raisins, for serving
Sliced scallions, for serving


In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the vegetable oil with the apple juice, half of the lemon juice, smashed garlic, half of the curry powder, half of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, the hot sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. Add the chicken thighs and toss to cover with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, tap off the excess, and sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add the olive oil and the onions, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and the thyme, and cook for 2minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining curry powder, salt, cumin and black pepper and let toast for 1 minute. Stir in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Add the grape tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 20 mintues.

Add the chicken to the sauce and toss to coat completely. Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and remaining lemon juice. Season to taste with additional salt and peper. Serve over white rice, garnished with almonds, raisins and scallions.

About the recipe

Country Captain has origins in the Low Country — namely, Charleston and Savannah — and can be traced all the way back to India. Typically featuring chicken, Country Captain refers to a braise or stew of tomato sauce spiked with curry powder, then served over white rice and garnished with raisins and almonds. We prefer chicken thighs here, but if you prefer to use breasts, just make sure they don't spend too much time stewing in the sauce after they're cooked through, lest they dry out.

Be sure to add the lemon juice and basil at the end, or else the basil will discolor and the lemon juice will turn bitter in the sauce.

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