Based on a classic Southern recipe in Charleston Receipts, first published by the Junior League of Charleston in 1950, this curried chicken dish reflects the diverse culinary influences on the Southern port city by blending the French-inspired flavors of Creole cooking with the spices of India.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
One 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
One 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dried currants
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour with the paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Pour off the oil from the skillet, then melt the butter in it. Add the bell peppers, onion and parsley; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 12 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder and mace; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices and the stock; simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the currants. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the sauce to a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange the chicken on top, skin side up. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the breasts are just cooked through. Transfer the breasts to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Bake the remaining chicken for 1 hour longer, or until tender and the sauce is thickened. Return the chicken breasts to the sauce and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until heated through. Sprinkle the almonds on top and serve.
Make Ahead: The baked chicken can be refrigerated overnight.
Serve With: Steamed white rice.
Wine Recommendation: The sauce here calls for a light red or rosé with the fruitiness to stand up to the acidity of the tomato and the sweetness of the paprika and currants. Consider the bright 2000 Vega Sindoa Rosé from Spain or the 2000 Niebaum-Coppola Dolcetto.