Years ago — and with no help from the Internet, thank you very much — The Silver Palate Cookbook's recipe for chicken Marbella went viral. In the '80s and '90s, this was about the only main course served at dinner parties in my little town, and it's still regularly featured today. This past Sunday, in fact, I was at a luncheon where a waiter placed before me a plate of mashed potatoes, broccoli florets and — you guessed it — chicken Marbella.
The original version called for four chickens cut into quarters and flavored with prunes, olives and capers, as well as a whole head of garlic.
Over time other cooks have revised the recipe in their own ways. I've done the same. My version of chicken Marbella includes chunks of sweet onion and carrots, plus more than the usual amount of tasty prunes, olives and capers. I also add less brown sugar.
Finally, I use my "shove-it-in-the-oven" cooking method: Simply toss ingredients in a large roasting pan and, yes, just shove it in the oven.
Shove-It-in-the-Oven Chicken Marbella
Serves 6 to 8
- 2-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia
- 4 large carrots
- 1 cup prunes
- 1 cup green olives, such as Cerignola
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 1/4 cup sliced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix chicken, onions, carrots, prunes, olives, capers, garlic, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large heavy roasting pan. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.)
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle white wine and sprinkle sugar over chicken mixture.
Cook chicken for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven and give it a stir. Return pan to oven and continue to cook until dish is a fully cooked stew, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Serve.
AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at threemanycooks.com.
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