Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Chicken Marbella from the Silver Palate Cookbook

There’s nothing like a gray, misty/rainy day to point you toward the stove. Or the oven in this case. The aroma of all of these remarkable ingredients can point to only one thing.

Chicken Marbella.

Not just any Chicken Marbella, but Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook. This is anamazing dish. Remarkable, sweet/savory, comfortable, engaging, and, if any food can be scintillating, Chicken Marbella is all of that.

This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate Restaurant in New York, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It’s good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d’oeuvre. The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.

There are, literally, thousands of recipes for Chicken Marbella, but I have to assume that most of them are the same. This one is from the Epicurious website. Servings: 10-12.

Ingredients ~

  • 4 chickens, 2 ½ pounds each, quartered (feel free to substitute any combination of chicken pieces that appeal to you) OR… three chicken breasts, cut into 3 to 4 bite-sized chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
  • 1 5.75 ounce jar of green olives with pimentos, halved or chopped
  • 1 3.5 ounce jar of capers with the juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Method ~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, 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 chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 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.

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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