Monday, January 2, 2012

Revised Chicken Marbella

As a member of a food forum I was happily alerted to this recipe which appears in the January 2012 issue of Cooks Illustrated. The original Chicken Marbella recipe appears in the Silver Palate Cookbook and actually was the first prepared food item made when the cookbook authors, Sheila Lukens and Julee Rosso owned the Silver Palate Gourmet Shop in New York City. The original recipe has the same ingredients with the exception of anchovies and there is an addition of brown sugar. The chicken is marinated overnight with all ingredients except for the brown sugar and wine which is added when the chicken is baked. The original Chicken Marbella recipe was a standby for me for many years, most particularly when entertaining. This revised recipe does not involve marinating and is quick to prepare and cook. By browning the chicken the juices are sealed and I found the chicken to be perfectly moist. The taste is the same as the original recipe except it lacks the intense sweetness of the sugar which is fine by me. This was a hit at our table and comparing both recipes I prefer the revised version as it is much more flavorful and moist.



1/3 cup pitted green olives , rinsed
1/3 cup pitted prunes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves , peeled
2 tablespoons capers , rinsed
3 anchovy fillets , rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes


2 1/2 - 3pounds bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts and/or leg quarters, trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup pitted green olives , rinsed and halved
1 tablespoon capers , rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup pitted prunes , chopped coarse
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


1. FOR THE PASTE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until finely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Scrape down bowl and continue to process until mostly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl. (Paste can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

2. FOR THE CHICKEN: Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1½ teaspoons salt and season with pepper.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving it until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet and return to medium-low heat.

4. Add 1/3 cup paste to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and fond forms on pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, olives, capers, and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Return chicken to pan, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove skillet from oven and use back of spoon to spread remaining paste over chicken pieces; sprinkle prunes around chicken. Continue to roast until paste begins to brown, breasts register 160 degrees, and leg quarters register 175 degrees, 7 to 12 minutes longer.

6. Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from sauce and whisk in butter, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce around chicken, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, and serve.