One of my favorite party dishes is the Chicken Marbella from Sheila Lukin’s and Julee Rosso’s classic "Silver Palate Cookbook." I brought it to potlucks for years until, after a trip to southern Spain, I changed the recipe to feature the “local flavor” of sun-drenched Andalucia—apricots, capers, rosemary, sherry and olives. The chicken is glorious looking, has a heady aroma and tastes wonderful whether served warm or at room temperature. Plus, every time I serve the dish someone asks about its origins, so I get to reminisce about the one of the best vacations I ever had.
To make the marinade: Whisk mashed garlic, sherry vinegar, capers, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in bowl. Stir in apricots, olives, sherry, honey, and bay leaves. Place chicken parts in 2 large sealable plastic freezer bags. Divide marinade between the bags; seal tightly. “Massage” the bags to distribute marinade around chicken. Refrigerate 12-24 hours, massaging bags occasionally.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line one or two baking pans with aluminum foil. Place chicken pieces 1/2 inch apart in pans. Pour marinade over meat, distributing the liquid and solids evenly around the pieces. Tuck cherry tomatoes around the chicken. Bake 60-75 minutes, basting 3 to 4 times while the chicken cooks.
Remove chicken from oven. Arrange pieces on a large, deep platter; cover and keep it warm. Let liquid in baking pan stand 10-30 minutes. Spoon off the surface fat. Use a serrated spoon to distribute apricots, olives and cherry tomatoes around the meat; drizzle pan liquid over all. (If there’s excess liquid you can transfer it to a saucepan first and reduce it as desired.) Garnish chicken with fresh rosemary sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Copyright by Terese Allen