SERVES 6 to 8

In 1971, wearing a groovy vest-and-pants outfit she sewed herself, my mom won first prize in the Pottsville Republican’s annual Share-Your-Recipe contest. In the photo of the award ceremony at the swanky Necho Allen Hotel, she is clearly the hippest-looking lady in the crowd. And she bucked tradition with her Country Captain Chicken recipe, too, omitting tomatoes and accessorizing with a sprinkle of bacon and almonds.


• 3 strips of sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon (optional)
• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• salt and black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
• 4 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
• 3 large bell peppers (red and/or green), thinly sliced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
• 3 tablespoons raisins
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 2 tablespoons curry powder (I like Penzeys Maharajah)
• 3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced
• 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3–4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a wooden spoon and drain on a paper towel.

3. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add the coconut oil to the bacon fat in the pan, and reheat the skillet for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken in a single layer, smooth side down. Don’t crowd the pan, and don’t annoy the chicken! You want it to form a crisp, brown crust, so place it in the pan and leave it alone for about 4 minutes per side. You may need to cook it in batches or be daring (!) and get two pans going at once. As the chicken browns, remove it from the skillet and place it in a single layer in a 13×9-inch baking pan.

4. In the same pan, without draining any remaining fat, sauté the onions, peppers, garlic, and raisins until the vegetables just begin to soften but are not cooked through. Spread them on top of the chicken and return the skillet to the stove.

5. Pour the chicken broth into the hot skillet, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Add the curry powder to the pan and stir until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and wrap the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

6. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil, increase the heat to 400 F, and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with scallions, bacon, and almonds.


Replace the thighs with boneless, skinless breasts; increase the coconut oil for browning to 2 tablespoons.
Add diced mango or apple to the chicken along with the peppers and onions.
Garnish with shredded, unsweetened coconut.