One of the most influential cookbooks in my life is The Silver Palate cookbook. It came out when I was first started getting really serious about cooking. I used to live near the tiny store, which started in 1977 as a takeout and catering shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate store, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It’s good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d’oeuvre. The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare. Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish, this recipe serves 10 to 12, but the recipe can be divided to make smaller amounts if you wish.
Serves 10 – 12
4 chickens, 2½ lb each, quartered
1 head of garlic, puréed
¼ cup dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup Spanish green olives
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
¼ cup chopped parsley
Combine all ingredients except brown sugar and white wine, and marinate overnight.
Arrange chicken in pan, spoon marinade over, and sprinkle with brown sugar and wine.
Bake 50-60 min at 350 degrees, basting often.
Eat! (Serves 10+, or the leftovers make great chicken salad and sandwiches.)