Daniel first introduced me to this recipe a few years ago and it’s been on my “Mike’s Favourite List” ever since. Watching him prepare this meal was the first time I had ever been privy to a slowly cooked meal (defined to me as: a meal that takes over an hour to prepare and doesn’t come out of a can). That being said, it is time-intensive only in the sense that the chicken needs to marinate overnight in a heavenly concoction that smells so good you’ll drool in your sleep and have nocturnal visions of a sun-kissed mediterranean beach.
Chicken Marbella calls for an unusual cast of characters, like capers, olives, half a head of garlic, plums and brown sugar, something that a child might dream up if given free reign in the kitchen. But what a combination! My friend Nathalie dropped off frozen chanterelle mushrooms a few weeks ago, so I made wild mushroom risotto as a side dish. If you have leftovers (unlikely), this meal tastes even better the next day.
Preparation time (10 minutes)
Marinating time (at least 6 hours)
Cooking time: 1 hour
Chicken (My preference is boneless-skinless chicken thighs for this recipe – about 16 pieces, but you can use legs or mixed pieces, skin on if you prefer. If picking up chicken with bones in, aim for about 6 pounds worth)
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and sliced or minced
2 Tbsp dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes or fresh pitted plums if in season
1/3 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/3 cup capers with a bit of juice
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1. In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan and spoon the marinade over it. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
4. Bake for about an 1 hour, frequently spooning the chicken with the pan juices. Transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter, then pour some of the pan juices on top and sprinkle generously with cilantro.