"Country captain originated in India as a simple spatchcock poultry or game recipe involving onions and curry and possibly enjoyed by British officers. One theory is that an early 19th-century British sea captain, possibly from the East India Company, working in the spice trade introduced it to the American South via the port of Savannah. The dish remains popular amongst the communities in Mumbai, India. The "country" part of the dish's name dates from when the term referred to things of Indian origin instead of British, and so the term "country captain" would have meant a captain of Indian origin, a trader along the coasts of India. Others claim that the word "captain" in the title is simply a corruption of the word "capon"."
Here's my version:
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 cups diced celery
3 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp. fresh grated or minced ginger
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
1 28-oz can whole, diced or crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, lightly toasted
Chopped scallions for garnish
Steamed basmati or jasmine rice
1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot; add the chopped bacon and cook until lightly browned; remove to a small bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the drippings.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the drippings in the pan over medium high heat and add half the seasoned chicken, skin side down. Let brown for about 5 minutes, turn over with tongs, and brown another 5 minutes. Remove the browned chicken to a platter and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
3. Remove all but 1/4 cup of the drippings in the pan (reserve the rest for use in case the pan gets too dry). Heat over medium high heat and add the diced onion and saute until lightly browned. Add the celery, bell peppers, jalapeño pepper, garlic and ginger; cook about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt, pepper, and raisins; cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves and chopped parsley.
4. Add tomatoes and 2 cups water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and carefully add the browned chicken thighs, skin side up on top of the sauce, keeping the skin part just above the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper, as needed.
5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the entire pot of chicken in the oven and cook 15-20 minutes to crisp up the skin.
6. In the meantime, place the sliced almonds in a small dry skillet (don't add oil) over medium heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds or until just lightly toasted. Remove the almonds from the pan immediately to a small bowl so that they don't burn in the pan. Set aside.
6. Plate the chicken onto individual serving dishes, serve with steamed white rice on the side, and garnish with chopped scallions, reserved bacon bits, and toasted sliced almonds, if desired.