Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chicken Marbella

To celebrate our friend David’s recent job promotion, we wanted to host dinner for our dear friends. I had read this dish was phenomenal, and I’ve been wanting to try it for years. The original recipe serves 8-10 people (16 pieces), but since it was for the 4 of us, I scaled it down in half. I also used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, as I’m not a bone-in chicken fan and it’d be easier without having to mess with bones, skins, etc. The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the dish!

The distinct flavors of the olives, capers, and prunes made our taste buds go wild. The dish is good hot or at room temperature, which makes it a great option for potlucks and BBQs. The preparation is minimal, but keep in mind that it does require overnight marinating. It is ridiculously easy, particularly given how fancy it looks and amazing it tastes. I felt like I've cheated when I served Chicken Marbella, because it was just so easy and was received with such wild enthusiasm! I paired this dish with Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Oven-Roasted Vegetables, which were wonderful accompaniments to the chicken.

Ingredients:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1⁄2 cup pitted Spanish green olives (Used ½ of 7-oz jar of pimento-stuffed Spanish green olives)
1⁄4 cup capers with a bit of juice (Used ½ of 3.5-fl oz jar)
3 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely puréed
2 Tbsp dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions:
1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

2. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

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

6. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the chicken pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour. (Since I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I cooked them for 45-50 minutes.)
7. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.

Yield: 4-5 servings

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

Source: Silver Palate Cookbook

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