Sara Spano Classics: Chicken Country Captain has long been a Columbus favorite

October 9, 2013 

O Captain,

My Country

Captain

Before there was Sara Spano, there was Miss Latimer Watson.

Our longtime food editor before Mrs. Spano, she once closed a recipe with these words: "You now have food for the gods."

She was talking about Country Captain.

She knew what she was talking about, and so did General Patton, who reportedly loved the concoction.

Behold a Columbus classic.

COUNTRY CAPTAIN

3 1/2 to 4-pound chicken breasts

Flour, salt, pepper

Shortening

2 onions, finely chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

1 small garlic bud, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

3 teaspoons curry powder

2 1/2 cans (No. 303) tomatoes

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme

1/4 pound almonds, toasted

3 heaping tablespoons currants

2 cups cooked rice

Parsley for garnish

Remove skin from chicken breasts, roll in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Brown in melted shortening.

Remove chicken from pan, but keep it warm. ("This," said Watson, "is the secret of the dish's success.") Into the shortening remaining in pan put onions, pepper and garlic. Cook very slowly, stirring constantly.

Now season with the curry, then salt and pepper to taste.

Add tomatoes, parsley and thyme. Put chicken in a roaster and pour mixture over it. If it does not cover the chicken, rinse out the skillet with water, add to chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes, or until chicken is very tender.

Place chicken in center of a large platter and pile around the hot rice, cooked very dry and every grain standing alone.

Now drop the currants in the sauce mixture in roaster, stir, pour over the rice. Scatter almonds on top, then garnish with parsley. "You now have food for the gods." Serves about 6 to 8.

-- Mrs. W.L. Bullard, Warm Springs

PUERTO RICAN CHICKEN

1 frying chicken plus 3 extra chicken breasts (halved)

Salt and pepper

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes

Cut up chicken as for frying. Season with salt and pepper; place in large rectangular casserole.

Stir sherry into soup until smooth and pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 yours, basting frequently. If chicken gets too brown, cover loosely with foil.

About 20 minutes before serving, sprinkle with grapes, baste well, and return to oven until serving time. Serves 6.

-- Myrtle Waldrop, Salem, Ala.

Note: The Ledger-Enquirer is republishing "Sara's Recipes Through the Years," the cookbook from the late Sara Spano. Copies are $25.

To order, stop by the Ledger-Enquirer during regular business hours, or go online to www.ledger-enquirer.com/cookbook. In the meantime, to give you a taste of Sara's recipes this fall, we're reprinting this column that Dimon Kendrick-Holmes wrote 10 years ago.

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