Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chicken Marbella

My life can be divided into two time periods: “Before Chicken Marbella” and “After Chicken Marbella”. It’s that simple. As you can imagine, life before Chicken Marbella was fairly bleak: my, um, mom’s cooking (more on that later), some frozen junk, vending machine delights, and…well, you get the picture. Then one day the heavens parted and this dish came into my life, and it’s never been the same again.

I have my friend Glenn to thank for this, really. What’s ironic is that Glenn is by no means what you’d call a connoisseur of fine cooking. I don’t write this to be mean; Glenn is great at everything, the food thing just doesn’t seem to be his main interest. But, years ago, when we first met, he had this friend, this mystical keeper of amazing recipes. I think she was a chef and I think she lived in St. Louis. I never, unfortunately, met her. What I do remember is she decided to send Glenn some recipes and we decided we would cook them.

Chicken Marbella was the first recipe she sent. The name sounded very exotic to me, but…Prunes? Olives? Together! A quarter cup of oregano!? The recipe seemed a little out there. I remember, however, as I stood in Glenn’s apartment as it was cooking, thinking “I have never smelled anything so wonderful”. And it was. Wonderful.

Ever since, this has been my “go-to” recipe, my old standby, the most dog-eared recipe in my collection. This recipe, sigh, is the reason I can never be a full-time vegetarian.

Chicken Marbella

6 – 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup oregano
Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers, with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine

*(I’ll write the directions as they appear in the original recipe, but I’ll mention here that I normally put everything in one bowl at the same time to marinate, because I’m lazy, and because I can’t taste a difference)

1.) In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper and 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 F
3.) Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans, and spoon marinade over
evenly. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour in white wine.
4.) Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices.

1 comment:

  1. This is the most amazing Chicken! I must admit that the only thing better than eating this chicken...is smelling it. The aromas are heavenly and I can't wait to try a tofu version--though it may suck in comparison--It will be close enough to bliss for me. BTW your pictures are fantastic! They look so appealing...can you figure out a scratch and sniff version...