Chicken Country Captain
This exotically spiced curry of chicken, tomatoes, peppers, dried fruit, and nuts is proof of Southern food’s cosmopolitan roots. Served with steamed rice, slivered almonds, and fresh parsley, it is wonderfully bone-warming and fragrant.
SERVES 4 TO 6
One 3- to 31⁄2-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons hot curry powder
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tomatoes, cored and diced, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juices
1⁄2 cup chopped dried apricots
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon your favorite chutney, plus more for serving
1⁄4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Rinse the chicken, pat dry, and remove any excess fat. Place the flour in a small, shallow bowl or large plastic bag, season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the black pepper, and stir or shake to mix. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until sizzling hot.
3. Dredge or shake the chicken in the seasoned flour one piece at a time, shaking off any excess. Place in the hot skillet, and cook for about 8 minutes per side, turning frequently for even browning, until brown on all sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
4. Put the onion, bell pepper, and celery in the same skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, curry, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes; cook and stir for 1 minute more.
Add the balsamic vinegar and stir, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the broth, tomatoes, apricots, orange zest and juice, chutney, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up, and place in the oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the tip of a small knife.
Remove from the oven and let rest, loosely covered, for about 10 minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with almonds and parsley, if desired. Serve additional chutney on the side.