Friday, March 4, 2011

Chicken Marbella

I love the flavors of this dish, capers, olives, prunes - - - PRUNES???  Yep, they are awesome in this recipe and you need to keep an open mind to trying something new.  I'm sort of sounding like my mother now....

The best part about making this, is that you can do almost all of it ahead of time.  It would be a very easy dish to make for a dinner party, all you'd have to do is pop it in the oven and serve with rice (or quinoa, couscous, polenta, potatoes), some french bread, and a salad.  The chicken is tender and moist with a great sauce to soak up with bread, and rice.  The recipe below makes enough for 6 people if you use twelve chicken thighs, but it would also be so easy to reduce the recipe for a smaller group.  I will say that leftovers of Chicken Marbella are incredibly good cold, and would make a great lunch too.

I have adapted my recipe below from the iconic recipe from The Silver Palate. Since this cookbook was published first in 1982, it occurred to me that many of you have never heard of the cookbook, or the recipe, and therefore, it bears repeating to inspire cooks to try it out. When you 'google' Silver Palate... Chicken Marbella is the first recipe that auto fills for you... it is that iconic!
8-12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
1 heaping Tbsp. chopped garlic
2-3 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/2- 1 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1-2 tsp brown sugar, per chicken piece 
1 cup white wine
Coarse ground sea salt
3 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine chicken thighs, garlic, oregano, fresh ground pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle each chicken pieces with a small amount of brown sugar, as this helps to make them brown and caramelize.  Pour white wine around the chicken and bake.

Bake for about an hour, and though the original recipe calls for basting it frequently, I did not do that, and my chicken was great and the skin crispy.  

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

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