Vegetarian Country Captain

26 Jan

  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 1 1/2  cups  finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2  cups  diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  curry powder
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  organic vegetable broth
  • 2  tablespoons  mango chutney
  • 2  tablespoons  whipping cream
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 3  cups  cauliflower florets
  • 2  cups  frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 3  cups  hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1/4  cup  dried currants
  • 1/4  cup  sliced almonds, toasted
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)


1. Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chopped onion, and cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add apple; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour, curry, and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in chutney, cream, and salt. Add cauliflower and edamame; cook for 8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve over rice, and top with currants and almonds. Garnish with cilantro and green onions, if desired.

Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light, January 2011

This was the first I’d ever heard of Country Captain, but I love curry dishes so I had to try it.  According to Sam Sifton, Culture Editor at The New York Times, Country Captain is rumored to have originated in the Southeastern coastal region, carried across the Atlantic by spice traders back in the 17th or 18th century.  It was later popularized by Franklin D. Roosevelt who is said to have been a big fan.  The dish typically consists of pan-fried chicken and peppers in a curry sauce and is served over rice.

My guess is that the Southern die-hards would scoff at this vegetarian adaptation and I might agree that a chicken version would make for a more well-rounded and generally satisfying dish.  Nonetheless, I thought this was a nice go-to for weeknight, low-key cooking and it packs a major veggie punch which nobody can complain about in the Midwest, mid January.   I’m also always happy to find a new one-pot dinner idea.  I served the Country Captain over jasmine rice with almonds, cilantro, green onions and a dab of Greek yogurt.  I might also recommend adding a touch of cayenne pepper as it simmers to spice it up a little.

Sifton, Sam.  Demystifying Demystifying Country Captain, the one-dish wonder of the coastal South.  The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25food-t-000.html

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2 Responses to “Vegetarian Country Captain”

  1. jena January 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    um YUUUUMMM. that looks amazing. when i stay with you in March i’m totally going to expect a flamboyantly delicious meal. i’m also a great sous chef–as my boy.

    • chicagodinnerbell January 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Oh man! Pressure is on since you live with a flippin’ chef. Nonetheless, March should be good times. Can’t wait to catch up.

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