Saturday, February 11, 2012

Prunes on a chicken? Heck yes

And's not just so we can fulfil our daily dose of fibre. Although it may sound odd at first, when mixed together with capers, olives, oil, herbs, and baked with brown sugar and white wine, the chicken holds a sweet and savoury flavour like no other. This Chicken Marbella recipe is one of the best dishes to come from the Silver Palate cookbook, which any one with a remote interest in cooking and food-related experimentation should definitely check out (even Oprah says its great). 

Ingredients (10-12 servings):
4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds 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/ 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 coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

1. In a large bowl, combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. 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.

4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, picked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

5. 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 pan juices in a sauceboat.
Baste frequently to ensure the chicken gets all of the juices
Serve on its own, or on a bed of rice
It's usually difficult for me to eat chicken unless its in a salad or a wrap because I find it tastes pretty dry. The overnight marinade is key for this recipe - it keeps the chicken moist and juicy no matter what piece you're eating. Best of all, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week after, and the taste will probably only improve over time!

Happy Saturday!


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