Chicken Marbella–perfect Holiday Chicken

This recipe is my “go to” chicken. I’ve made it almost every Passover since I found it, it is also a wonderful dinner party recipe and perfect for Rosh Hashana.  The original recipe is from the”Silver Palate” cookbook. It was many winters ago that I first had it at my friend Susan’s house.  It has been a staple on my holiday table ever since. Not to say that it is not a recipe for every other day of the year and week, because it’s perfect for anytime. There is also the Brisket recipe that I posted during Rosh Hashana which is on the website, as well as the Honey Roasted Chicken, and Meatballs which all work well for this holiday. I usually make the Chicken Marbella and the Meatballs as another main dish.

*I recently read that if you make this whole recipe and put it in a large plastic bag un-cooked, just raw chicken in the marinade into the freezer you can then make it ahead of time. Just take it out and de-frost the night before, I would probably take it out of freezer and into the fridge the day before and the next morning if it’s not defrosted fully let it completely de-frost out of fridge in the plastic bag. Then follow cooking directions. I just want to say that I haven’t tried this method but most certainly would to save time. The reviews of the freezing method said that the chicken had more flavor than the usual way, so give it a try and it’s always good to be able to cut down on the prep.

Enjoy!

*The key to this recipe is the overnight marination, which is essential to the moistness of the chicken.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives (no pimentos)( if you can’t find, just pick out pimentos)

1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice

6 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed(chopped well)

1/4 cup dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I start with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.)

4 chickens, cut into eighths (original recipe calls for chickens to be quartered but I find that you get more per person if you do it in eighths.) the chickens are about 2 1/2 lbs. apiece , so it’s about 10 lbs. of chicken . Sometimes I ask the butcher to cut the breasts in 1/2, if they are very large.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)

Directions:

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and their juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper. ( You can combine in a large bowl, but I use a very large (jumbo) Ziploc bag.) Add the chicken, then stir or mix around to coat well. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a large shallow baking pan (you may need 2), arrange the chicken in a single layer and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Then sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices until the thigh pieces yield a clear yellow juice (don’t want it pink). It takes anywhere between 50 to 60 minutes to cook. (Test thigh with a fork.)

When you are ready to serve, transfer the chicken with a slotted spoon to serving platter. Moisten with some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. You can pass the remaining juices in a gravy boat.

*should serve 10 or more

* this chicken is delicious cold or at room temperature. If you make ahead and it is in fridge, just remove from fridge, reheat it in the juices, then allow to come to room temperature.

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