This recipe for Chicken Marbella has been kicking around since The Silver Palate Cookbook first came out in 1979. I have countless friends who come back to this chicken dish time and time again because of its flavour, the convenience of making it ahead of time and the fact that it can be easily adjusted to serve a small or large gathering.
It is particularly good in the summer, as it tastes good at room temperature and can be accompanied by a huge variety of salads. I use chicken thighs and breasts instead of quartered chickens and cook the thighs for a while before adding breasts to the pan.
4 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs. each, quartered (or chicken thighs and breasts)
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
1/4 c. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1 c. pitted prunes
1/2 pitted green olives
1/2 c. capers, with some of the juice
6 bay leaves
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white wine
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
In a large bowl combine chicken pieces, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Arrange chicken pieces and the marinade in a single layer in one or two large, shallow pans. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour white wine over top. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes if using, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Makes 10 or more portions.