Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Famous Chicken Marbella

Along with Julia Child, one of the early "Bibles" of fooddom was The Silver Palate Cookbook. First published in 1979, it was embraced for the inovative "gourmet" recipes contained between it's pages.

So many of us learned to cook watching Julia on television and testing the recipes between the pages of "The Silver Palate".

Of all the recipes in the cookbook, probably THE recipe is the Chicken Marbella. As stated in the cookbook, this was the first main dish offered at The Silver Palate.

It's that perfect dish -- it can be made ahead; can be served fresh from the oven or at room temperature.

It is the "little black dress" of a chicken dish.
It certainly is a favorite at Linderhof -- both as a luncheon dish as well as a make ahead chicken dish when we know we want to eat well but have no time for cooking. Besides using whole chickens to make the dish, I've also made it with breasts only or thighs only.

The flavors make for an interesting dish and a favorite way to serve it is with roasted asparagus vinaigrette with a garnish of lemon.

My first Silver Palate cookbook is well worn for I've made lots of dishes from inside these pages. It's one that I turn to when I'm looking for something different.
Since my original copy is held together by rubber bands, I did splurge and buy the 25th Anniversary edition. It's great because it has color pictures of some of the recipes -- including Chicken Marbella.
I still find myself reaching for my original -- even though the only difference really between the two books are the color pictures. I favor the familiar rather than the new.

Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella

4 chickens, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh cilantrol, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over chicken.


Lori E said...

I love cookbooks. They are so inspiring. That chicken is exactly the type of food I like and asparagus is always a hit here.

SarahWhite said...

I must take myself right to bed stops at the kitchen...which of course I now want to do after looking at all your wonderful pictures of food! I cannot wait to try some of your recipes...thank you for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Martha! Now this absolutely looks and sounds divine! I'll have to try this!
Be a sweetie and thanks for popping in to see me.
Shelia ;)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Ah - chicken marbella. One of our all time favorites. We serve it often and it's so easy. I'm always surprised more people haven't heard of it.
I saw an interesting version of it recently on Stacy's Snacks - she used figs instead of the prunes.

I still have my original SP cookbook. I hope the 25th anniversary one will once again bring attention to this fabulous cookbook.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Truth be known, I keep a jar of sauce on hand for emergencies, but I promise you that this sauce is way way way better than anything jarred... I PROMISE!!!! (just as long as you use the tomatoes I suggest... other canned tomatoes just simply are not as good)

Take care,