Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chicken Marbella

This has to be one of my new favorite ways to prepare chicken. And one of the best things, is that it uses the whole chicken (well, the major meaty parts anyway...thighs, legs, breasts), so you could actually save $$ by not buying boneless, skinless, breast meat. Additionally, I am not usually a fan of the dark meat, but this preparation actually makes all of the meat equally yummy! Win-win, I think! Yes, dark meat is higher in calories and fat, but as long as you are not overdoing these things in other meals, etc, you should not be afraid to go for these pieces, for they are succulent and super flavorful! 

For more information on the nutrition of white v. dark meat, there is a short article on the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics website.

It also explains that dark turkey meat is an even healthier option than dark chicken meat! And this recipe would be probably equally as good if you used all turkey pieces too! 

I copied this from a printout my mom had…there weren't many clues to its source, but I think it's from The Silver Palate recipe book? If there is such a thing...haha. 

This dish is best if served hot or at room temperature.

If you're feeling confident and/or adventurous, buy a whole chicken and chop it up yourself. I recommend that you watch a quick tutorial if it's your first time! I watched 3 different videos and it was still tricky! Here is one I recommend:
Otherwise, you could purchase bone-in chicken pieces with skin.

Serves 10-12

4 chickens, quartered (about 2.5 lbs each)
1 head of garlic, peeled, pureed (equivalent to about 10 large cloves, or 3 tbsp minced or puréed garlic)
¼ cup dried oregano
coarse salt
fresh ground pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives (many jarred ones are stuffed with pimientos--if you care to take them out, go ahead, but I don't feel like it makes a difference)
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves (break into a few pieces by hand )
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine (I like using a good non-oakey Chardonnay; and it's recommended that you never cook with a wine you wouldn't want to drink!)
¼ cup italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper & coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil. prunes, olives, capers, juice, and bay leaves.
Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight. 
Preheat oven to 350 F.
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 min. to 1 hour, basting frequently (try every 15-20 min?) with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces pricked with fork at thickest part, yield clear yellow rather than pink juice. (Or, if you would rather use a trusty instant-read cooking thermometer, insert into thickest part of thigh, but not touching bone, and aim for about 170 deg F-- if you shoot for 5 degrees less than "done", the "carryover" cooking that will happen after taking it out of the oven will finish the cooking, and you will avoid over cooking. In my experience, it seems a number of people think chicken has to be firm and dry to be cooked sufficiently, but chicken can be juicy and tender when cooked properly!)

Serving the dish:
With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to serving platter.
Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and and sprinkle generously with parsley. Reserve the remaining pan juices to be served on the side. (You can decide if you want to first strain this through a mesh strainer or not).
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 juice over chicken. 

Hope you enjoy!

Here's a shot of the leftovers we had at Easter...not the best picture, but we were so busy that day I forgot to take pictures beforehand!

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