Ottolenghi's Chicken Marbella
If you are from the 80's like me, then you will know what Chicken Marbella is.
Supposedly from Marbella, Spain, this Jewish holiday staple was put on the map by the popular 80's cookbook THE SILVER PALATE, published in 1982.
The dish has never gone out of style.
It was comprised of chicken parts marinated overnight in wine, brown sugar, vinegar, along with prunes and olives.
It is the perfect entertaining dish, because you can make it ahead.
Well, now Yotam Ottolenghi has revised the dish somewhat to make it more modern, using dates instead of the prunes, and using dark meat, which I am in favor of!
His new cookbook SIMPLE is quite nice, and you know I am a big fan.
Since I have made this dish 100 times, I didn't expect much with this new fangled version.
But to my surprise, it was SO GOOD!
I used only chicken thighs instead of the legs and thighs as the recipe suggests (yes, with skin and bones....do not use skinless please).
I did not use bay leaves, because I forgot....and I did not add the white wine w/ date syrup at the end, but instead, I added it to the marinade.
The recipe says you must marinate at least a day ahead......ok, this would be better (if that is even possible) if I did that, but instead, I marinated it in the morning for about 6 hours.
I am not easily impressed by chicken recipes....in fact, I am annoyed with chicken recipes lately.
But this recipe did anything but annoy me, I LOVED it!!!!
Ottolenghi's Chicken Marbella (adapted from SIMPLE):
8 chicken legs, drumstick and thigh attached, skin on (I used 10 chicken thighs w/ skin and bones)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
a bunch of fresh oregano, torn, plus extra for garnish
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (I used more)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pitted green olives (use Cerignola variety if you can find them and pit them by smashing w/ a knife)
6 tbsp capers, plus 2 tbsp of the juices
1/2 cup pitted and quartered Medjoul dates (Deglet Noir are good too)
2 bay leaves (I forgot to add them, oh well)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp date syrup or treacle
kosher salt and black pepper
In a non-reactive bowl (I used a French glass oval baker), lay out the chicken pieces. With a sharp paring knife, make slits thru the thighs so the marinade will get thru.
Place the smashed garlic, quartered dates, capers with juices and pitted olives around the chicken.
Mix the oil with the vinegar and pour over the chicken. The recipe wants you to pour the white wine mixed with the date syrup tomorrow just before you bake, but I poured it right over the chicken to marinate......do it my way.
Sprinkle everything liberally with kosher salt & pepper and cover with sprigs of fresh oregano.
Marinate overnight in the fridge, or even 2 days before (will probably be even better, if possible).
Transfer to a baking dish (I used the same one I marinated the chicken in) and bake in a 400F oven for 55 minutes, until the chicken is nice and brown.
I drained some of the oil off the surface so the dish would not be too greasy (dark meat tends to be oily).
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over it, getting all the lumpy dates and olives on the platter.
Garnish with fresh oregano leaves.
I served this dish over roasted sweet potatoes, and it was just perfect.
I rate this a 10.