Friday, December 27, 2013

Chicken Marbella

Andy requested this dish for his birthday. This is a dish his Uncle Gary makes, and we've always loved it. Oddly enough, the dish has a couple of ingredients I don't like (capers and olives), but the flavor those items bring to the party coupled with the sweetness of the cooked prunes (don't be scared...they are delicious cooked!!!) creates a perfect blend of sweet, sour, briny and savory. It's an easy dish to make, though it needs some time to marinate. This is a rustic, easy dish to make for potlucks, special meals or even just a Thursday night.

Chicken Marbella
2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
2 Tbsp dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1. In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

3. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest point, yield clear yellow juice (not pink).

4. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Add some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Serve remaining juice in a gravy boat.

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