We’re having a party this weekend. Chicken Marbella is the first dish I think about making for a large group. It’s one of the most popular recipes from the original Silver Palate cookbook and is available on line. If you’ve never tried it, or it’s been years since you’ve had it, now might be the time to check out the original recipe. It’s a perfect dish for a party. The recipe will easily feed twelve people as a main dish and many more as part of a buffet. It can be (actually should be) marinated the night before, and I’ve honestly never met anyone who didn’t like it!
I’ve adapted the recipe over the years to use boneless chicken thighs. I substitute about 10 pounds of boneless thighs for the chicken pieces on the bone that are called for in the recipe. Other than the type of chicken, my adaptation remains true to the original ingredients. However, I use 1/8 C oregano instead of 1/4 C and mince the garlic. The cooking time is a bit shorter as well. Test it after approximately 45 minutes.
Using cut up thighs makes it much easier to deal with as part of a buffet. Another bonus is that it can be prepared in stages. The thighs can be prepped and frozen in bite-sized pieces days ahead of time. They will then be ready to defrost and combined with the other ingredients and set to marinate the night before you need them.
On the day of the party, you can just pop it in the oven an hour before dinner. Serve it over orzo or rice, with a green salad and crusty bread. This is my kind of cooking. Everything can be prepped ahead of time, without any last minute fuss. This is particularly important when you’re serving a large number of people.
Chicken Marbella (Adapted)
10 lbs. boneless chicken thighs
1 head of garlic, minced
1/8 C dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
1 C pitted prunes
1/2 C pitted green olives (with pimentos okay)
1/4 C capers (with some juice)
6 bay leaves
1 C brown sugar
1 C white wine
chopped parsley or basil (garnish)
1. Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces.
2. Put chicken in a large bowl. Add the garlic, oregano, *salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
*Use your judgement on salt and pepper. You can always adjust seasoning later.
3. When you’re ready to cook, remove the bay leaves and spread the marinated chicken into two large baking pans. Sprinkle with brown sugar and divide the wine evenly between the pans.
4. Bake at 350 for 45 -60 minutes. Stir a couple of times to make sure that all pieces are cooking evenly.
5. Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve over rice or orzo.
Pictured is the cover of the original Silver Palate. My copy is wrinkled and stained, as a much loved cookbook should be!