Grammy is coming for a visit today–in preparation, cooking is on the agenda for this morning. Can’t have Grammy going home hungry after all of the meals she has prepared for me over lo, these many years.
This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate Cookbook, first published in 1979. Chicken Marbella is an easy, make ahead if you want, serve warm or cold, delicious, family or buffet meal. Around here the weather is supposed to be rainy and downright chilly–perfect time to turn on the oven for the hour this takes to bake.
The recipe calls for 4-2 1/2 lb chickens quartered–10 lbs! I usually use about 6 halved boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut down on the amount of oregano and garlic used in the marinade . Also, it’s a good idea to lessen the amount of brown sugar used while baking. The rest I pretty much leave the same, because I like an abundance of taste for all the pieces of chicken. However, I entered the recipe as printed in The Silver Palate so as not to confuse someone interested in feeding a crowd.
In a large bowl, combine as much as 10 pounds of quartered chicken (or chicken breasts) with 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed, 1/4-cup dried oregano, coarse salt tnd freshly ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup pitted prunes, 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives, 1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice, and 6 bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken with up to 1 cup brown sugar and pour 1 cup dry white wine (I prefer a dry wine like Chablis so it doesn’t get overly sweet) around chicken.
Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow rather than pink juice.
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 sauceboat.
Serve warm, or allow to cool to room temperature. Warm juices for best taste. 16 pieces, 10 or more servings if all 4 quartered chickens are used.