Whole Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces: Shallot-Curry Vinaigrette and Garlic and Mixed Fresh Herb Homemade Mayonnaise

Chicken Country Captain with an Excess of Condiments
Corn Spoon Bread Souffle

Chocolate Meringue Pie with an Almond Macaroon Crust

At the center of this menu is Chicken Country Captain, an Old South, upscale plantation food standby,  a succulent and mild, gorgeous and utterly elegant version of chicken curry. Thought to have Indian origins, some version of the recipe was probably brought to Savannah in the mid-1800s by a British colonial officer (a country captain) who had enjoyed it in Bengal.

This variant of the dish is one of the most exuberant chicken presentations I know. Eastern spices render a very Southern sauce hot as well as sweet and salty. Bejeweled with currants, crumbled bacon, and bits of multicolored local vegetables, the finished dish is then garnished with a plethora of tantalizing condiments, both homegrown and exotic. These extras are not mandatory as each basic recipe stands firmly on its own. However, I like the addition of as many extras as possible; their colors, textures, and flavors add richness and complexity to a poultry concoction already hard to beat. Traditionally a big bowl of Carolina rice is served alongside. When I have time, however. I make–as we’ll do in class–an irresistible spoon bread souffle that combines the rich lushness of corn pudding with the ethereal lightness of a souffle.

Simple steamed artichokes, made very special by the inclusion of 2 dipping sauces, jumpstart the meal. Either one could easily suffice, but this particular shallot-curry vinaigrette pairs perfectly with artichokes and is absolutely not to be missed. In addition, it’s ideal with red meat, fish, and poultry as well as with a variety of other veggies, whether steamed, grilled or sautéed. Sometimes, I even use leftovers to perk up​ ​sandwiches.

I’m including a second sauce, a divine Garlic-Mixed Herb mayo, because it’s delicious and versatile and also because my friend Bruce–who has already managed to pre-register for this class–claims that he’s consistently defeated by food processor mayonnaise. I told him we’d make it on April 5 as it’s my best EASY sauce and works well with almost anything. And variations (all equally easy) are endless: tarragon, saffron, garlic, shallot, mint, chive, anchovy, truffle… etc.

Dessert too is pure heaven, a decadently rich, old-fashioned chocolate pie topped with a gold-peaked, chewy-crisp meringue. And if you’ve never tasted an almond macaroons pie crust, you have a delicious (and mindlessly simple) surprise in store.

Click here to register for this class.

© Copyright - Gail Monaghan