Years ago a co-worker who knew how much I loved to cook, gifted me a copy of the Silver Palate Cookbook, written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. This cookbook is a collection of well-loved recipes from the 1970's Manhattan gourmet take-out shop with the same name.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu, which later became a classic party dish in the 1980's, was the Chicken Marbella. A Mediterranean inspired recipe featuring chicken marinated overnight in a combination of green olives, capers and prunes, then baked with brown sugar and white wine.
Though I've had this book for several years, and have cooked from it a ton, I am just recently getting around to making Chicken Marbella. This recipe produces a moist chicken that is delicious served hot over rice or equally as good served as a cold salad. I know I will be making this again and again.
(recipe from Silver Palate)
4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup capers, rinsed
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
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.