This recipe is a throwback to the ’80s. When just about every “gourmet” kitchen had a copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook. Remember the book with the red and white grid background? My mom had a copy and I remember her using it often. Even though it is a little kitschy now, there are still some really delicious recipes in it. Like this one for Chicken Marbella. When someone has a baby, a death in the family, or is in need of a meal for whatever reason, this is what I bring 9 times out of 10. This chicken dish needs to be started the day before. It really needs to marinade overnight. It helps soften the chicken, and results in tender and flavorful chicken that you will not get it if you skip this step. I speak from experience, and it was disappointing. The marinade is sweet and salty, my absolute favorite combination and then when you bake it, you cover it in brown sugar and wine. The chicken almost poaches in this liquid and is really one of my all-time favorite dinners. It usually is my “Welcome Fall” dinner. I serve it on a bed of baked rice and covered in chopped flat leaf parsley. When I bring it to a friend, I do bake it off, but if they already have quite a few meals, it freezes really well. You can freeze it cooked, or in the marinade and bake it off when you need it. I bring along a dish of baked rice (which also freezes well), a green salad, crusty bread, a bottle of white wine, and chocolate chip cookies.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes (I leave this out, but it is part of the recipe)
1/2 cup green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head of garlic (I put it in the food processor)
1/4 cup dried oregano
salt and pepper
8 chicken breasts (or 2 roasting chicken in pieces)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
Put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, olives, capers, bay leaves, oregano, and garlic in a large Ziploc bag. Season well with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken to the bag, and let marinade overnight. Do not skip this step.
Place the chicken and all of the marinade in a large baking dish.
Top the chicken with brown sugar and wine.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Baste every 15 minutes or so with the cooking liquid.
Serve the chicken over baked rice with some of the cooking liquid, olives, and capers. Garnish with lots of chopped parsley.