Wow! Have I been a slug lately. I'm not usually prone to the winter blues but I think that's what's wrong with me. I haven't wanted to cook, blog or do much of anything. To make matters worse I'm all alone this week while Manly goes to Ft. Lauderdale for a training seminar (must be nice) and Chef Mikey (my youngest son) starts culinary school this week. Good for both of them but what to do with myself? I decided I needed to snap out of my little funk and DO something! I started by cleaning out and organizing my kitchen. Yeah, I know how to party, don't I? It really is amazing how such a simple thing can make you fell better though. It's hard to cook and blog and be "creative" when all about you is a wreck. I also needed to get my recipes and journals straightened out so I could find the things I want to share with you this week. Done. So here I am feeling a bit better about things and just in time to do my 100th blog post!
This recipe, I think, is a great one befitting the occasion. It comes from The Silver Palate Cookbook and is a bold way to perk up me and the chicken. My mom discovered it recently and was raving about it so of course I had to make it. It is dynamite. It can be served hot or at room temperature so is great for a buffet style party. You can make it with chicken wings and serve as an appetizer and since it improves with age you can make it a day or two ahead of time. This does require overnight marination and was written for 10-12 servings. This dish has little bits of salty, sweet and sour and is just a fantastic combination. I added some roasted red pepper strips just because I had a small jar and wanted to add some color and I also sprinkled some crushed red pepper flakes on the chicken before baking to add a little contrasting heat. The recipe below is as it is written in the cookbook but I used whatever olives I had and had some dried dates that I used instead of the prunes and I can't imagine that it suffered in any way. Enjoy!
Recipe: Chicken Marbella
The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Workman Publishing, New York; Copyright 1979
4 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
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 Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and salt, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and 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 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 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 juices in a sauceboat.
To serve cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over the chicken. Makes 16 pieces, 10 or more servings.