This recipe for Instant Pot Country Captain Chicken is a cinch to make in your instant pot or slow cooker. Set it and forget it while all the lovely Indian flavors cook and mingle creating a delicious low-fat meal.
How to make Instant Pot Country Captain Chicken
A year ago, BB gave me an Instant Pot* for Christmas.
Yes. He often buys me cooking items for Christmas. And most times I don't object to the object he gives. And this was one of them.
What is an Instant Pot?
To clarify, he gave me a multi-function "Instant Pot".
The brand he bought was not even the "Instant Pot" brand, but a Fagor multi-function pot.
It is a combination of every pot you have in your kitchen - practically. It's a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice maker, and risotto maker.
It browns, sautés, simmers.
But no one is going to Google Fagor Multi-Function pot so, just like we used to call a copier a Xerox or a facial tissue a Kleenex, I called my multi-function pot an Instant Pot®, however, as it appears from comments, some of y'all only have a single-use Instant Pot, one that is just a pressure cooker.
I have one of those too, I call it a pressure cooker...so just note, this recipe for Instant Pot Country Captian Chicken is intended for a multi-function self-contained cooker that offers slow-cooking as an option.
Of course, I'm going to give you more options, so keep going even if you don't have an "Instant Pot".
OK - Now that that's cleared up...
The main reason for not slow-cooking in the slow cooker is, that I find at the end of the day, everything in the cooker has lost its individual taste and texture.
Plus, I like to brown my ingredients before adding them to a slow cooker, which requires another pot or skillet.
Well, if I'm needing another pot or skillet, then I may as well brown in my Dutch oven, put it into the oven oven, and cook long and slow with low-oven heat.
Turns out better that way in my opinion.
Or, conversely, just speed everything up and use my pressure cooker. Stews are done tender in less than an hour.
But an Instant Pot has a browning function eliminating my need for additional cookware.
Why my Country Captain Chicken Recipe is Best!
So I started experimenting with slow-cooker recipes using the Instant Pot.
To my cookbooks, I go, looking for recipes that would work well with the Instant Pot - as a slow cooker - when I came upon a recipe for Country Captain Chicken.
Reading through the ingredients list I thought, this sounds right up my taste alley and could easily be converted to a slow cooker and especially the Instant Pot as the opening ingredients need to be sautéed.
Armed with the idea for a recipe, I then on to do my due diligence - looking and reading at least 5 more recipes of the same name and then deciding what I do like and don't like about each one, then adapting the components to create the most delicious, easiest to prepare, Instant Pot Country Captain Chicken meal I can.
And I do this all for you. Because I love you. You're welcome.
Country Captain Chicken - The Origins
Country Captain originated in India as a poultry or game recipe involving onions and curry.
The dish, known as one of the first Anglo-Indian recipes, was introduced by seamen to the southern United States. One theory is that an early 19th-century British sea captain, working in the spice trade, introduced the dish to the American South via the port of Savannah.
The "country" part of the recipe's name dates from when the term country referred to things of Indian origin instead of British.
It is therefore assumed the term "country captain" would have meant a captain of Indian origin or a trader along the coasts of India.
Others claim that the word "captain" in the title is simply a corruption of the word "capon" which may have been used in the dish.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken - bone-in, please. Best if you use thighs or thigh/leg combo. White meat will get too dry. Remove the skin as the skin would just become flabby and does not add anything to the dish.
- ½ a large yellow onion and fresh garlic.
- Bell Pepper - you can use green, red, orange, yellow, or any combination thereof.
- Canned diced tomato - I like to chop these a bit to make them slightly smaller than what's in the can.
- Tomato Paste - This recipe only uses 2 tablespoons so portion out the rest of the can into 1 - 2 tablespoon portions and freeze them for use at a later date.
- Curry Powder - There are many types and "flavors" of curry powder on the market. Curry powder has a unique flavor due to the combination of both savory and sweet spices. Savory spices like cumin, turmeric, and bay leaf give the curry a deep, earthy flavor while sweet spices, like cinnamon and clove, add brightness and pep. The level of heat is determined by the type and amount of pepper used. So once you find a "flavor" you like, I recommend you use it whenever your recipe calls for curry powder.
- Paprika - This recipe calls for sweet paprika which is the most common paprika found in almost all grocery stores. You could use Hot Paprika, Hot paprika is the Hungarian variety of paprika and is generally accepted as superior to the rest. In Hungarian cuisine, paprika is used as a primary flavoring method, instead of simply adding color to a dish. But it does add spice, along with color and flavor. If using this, control the heat by adding less cayenne. Or more. As you wish.
- Mango Chutney - I use Major Grey. Mango Chutney is a condiment that is sweet and spicy, using mango, ginger, and some heat.
- Chicken Broth - I always use low sodium.
- Dried Thyme, salt, and pepper.
For the Topping
- Minced fresh parsley or cilantro
- Tart Apple - such as Granny Smith or Pippin
- Toasted Sliced Almonds
Although generally, they all include chicken, curry powder, and raisins or another dried current, along with almonds, some, including mine use tomato and bell pepper.
I found many recipes online that included bacon.
While I'm not sure this is an original ingredient; and while I love bacon, I find bacon can take over a dish, and for this reason decided not to use any.
Another variation of my recipe is replacing the raisins with mango chutney. While there are no raisins in chutney, I find it added a "depth of flavor" that I could not replicate otherwise.
If you want to add raisins to the dish, go ahead. About ¼ cup should be sufficient.
As I said in my ingredients list, dark meat, legs, and thighs, work best for this dish. While you could use breasts, I would not cook them as long as the dark meat otherwise it will be very dry.
Yes. For two reasons. The skin contains most of the fat and calories, and it is good when fried crisp, but when stewed, as Country Captain Chicken is, it just turns flabby. Leaving some of the fat on the meat is fine, but you can easily scrape it off with a paring knife.
Options for cooking Country Captain Chicken
Of course, while the name says Instant Pot, there is more than one way to create this delicious dish.
- In a multi-function cooker - No matter the brand name. Follow the directions in the recipe.
- Slow-Cooker or Crockpot - Saute the veggies and tomato paste in a skillet on the stove-top, or soften in the microwave. Once you have added the liquid, transfer it to your slow-cooker and add the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 - 6 hours or high for 2 - 3 hours.
- Dutch Oven in the Oven - Follow the directions as stated in the recipe, and place your Dutch oven into a 325ºF oven for about 1 ½ hours.
- Pressure Cooker - Follow the directions as stated in the recipe, cover and bring your cooker to pressure, then cook for ½ hour. Release using the natural release method.
Country Captain Chicken is a perfect blend of sweet, spicy, hot, sour. Traditionally served with white rice, I decided to pay homage to the "country" portion of the dish and served with Basmati rice. It just adds a degree of nuttiness.
I like being a nut.
But if you prefer not to be a nut, try it on Twice Cooked Brown Rice. Or try it on cauliflower rice.
We tested, for your benefit, both a light red and white wine with this dish and found both worked very well due to the heartiness of the sauce, and the Indian flavors. Try with a Rhone-style red or Alsace-style dry Riesling for a great wine pairing.
Find more instant pot recipes here
More Internationally Inspired Food?
Instant Pot Country Captain Chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion about ½ a large onion
- 1 bell pepper seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces (use any color you wish)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic about 2 large cloves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste0
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (lightly chopped)
- ½ cup mango chutney
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 large bone-in chicken thighs skin removed - you can use leg/thigh combos
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Minced fresh parsley
- 1 Granny Smith apple cored and diced
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
- Set your instant pot* to sauté. When hot, add the oil along with the onions and bell pepper; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, thyme, paprika, and cayenne. Saute for about 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chutney, and chicken broth. Stir well, then nestle the chicken thighs into the sauce.
- Change Instant Pot setting to slow cooker - low.
- Cover and cook for 4 - 6 hours on low.
- Serve chicken and sauce with white rice; sprinkle the parsley, apple pieces, and almonds on top.