Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chicken Marbella

For years when I was dreaming of becoming a chef, The Silver Palate cookbook was my bible.  I thought everything in it was so chic, so delicious...except this recipe for Chicken Marbella that the authors raved about.  It was for chicken pieces marinated and cooked with prunes, green olives, and garlic among other things.  Even though I like those flavors, the combination puzzled and repulsed me.

Then one day a respected chef- colleague of mine mentioned that Chicken Marbella was her go-to party dish, and I decided to give it a try.  Now it's a go to dish for me, too.  Not only is it sublime, but the prep is mostly done the night before- making it perfect for weeknights as well as parties.

I've made some changes and have not peeked at the actual recipe in's my version:

Marinate the skinless chicken thighs overnight.  I always score the meat so the flavors can really penetrate.  The marinade is  a big clove of garlic (crushed), salt, about a quarter cup of brown sugar, 3T red wine vinegar (mild balsamic would be OK too), a bay leaf, a shake of oregano or Italian herb blend, half a cup of pitted green olives, half a cup of prunes, a big drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and 1 T of capers in brine.  I put everything in a big Ziplock and turn it over a few times during the marinating time.

The next day, simply dump it all into a baking dish, pour a little white wine over, sprinkle with a touch more brown sugar, and bake for about 50 minutes at 375'- until the chicken is definitely cooked through, browned, and the juices have reduced to a slightly syrupy consistency. Baste occasionally.  The chicken will be very moist and flavorful.  I served it with buttermilk mashed yukon gold potatoes, and roasted broccoli with cherry tomatoes.

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