Chicken Marbella

Boy things have been busy for Mark and I lately!  Earlier in November we traveled to the Washington D.C. area to watch my younger sister graduate from college and then a week later we took off to Florida for a week to see family over Thanksgiving.  Mark and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  For the first time ever I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Aunt, Uncle and Grandma from Florida.  Being with my extended family over the holidays is always a great reminder about what is important in life!  I hope each and everyone of you had a great Thanksgiving.

While in Florida we were able to see my Sister-In-Law and her family who live right outside Orlando.  Since we flew into Orlando we decided that we would have dinner and stay the night with then before taking off to the Tampa area for Thanksgiving. We arrived in town around 6:00 pm and as we walked into their house  this amazing smell instantly smacked you right in the face.  With the amazing smells that were coming from the kitchen I could have sworn my sister-in-law had to have been in the kitchen all day long slaving away cooking dinner.

As we sat down to eat she pulled a large baking dish out of the oven that had chicken swimming in a sauce with prunes and olives that she put in the middle of the table.  I sat there almost drooling on myself it smells and looked so good!  After saying grace we dug in and I have to say that this is one of the best chicken dishes I have ever eaten.  The chicken is amazingly moist and tender to the point where it just falls apart with your fork.  The sauce — oh the sauce — I was literally spooning the sauce right out of the pan and into my mouth it was that delicious.

Since getting home a little over a week ago I have already made this dish twice.  Yes, I promise you it is that good!  My sister-in-law served this with smashed potatoes but I love serving it with rice.  Spooning the sauce over the rice just gives the rice this amazing flavor that even Mark — who is not a fan of rice — cannot get enough of!

A few notes — make sure you marinate the chicken overnight.  Do not take a short cut and try to make this recipe all in one night.  I promise you it will not taste the same and marinading the chicken is easy and completely worth it!  Plus it means that all you have to do is pull the chicken out, put it in the baking dish and bake for about an hour and — Ta Da — an amazing dinner with basically no effort!  The original recipe calls for using chicken breasts and I know a lot of people use regular chicken thighs or legs; however, Mark does not like chicken with the bone in it and I do not think the chicken breast gets as tender as the boneless thighs while cooking.  If you are going to back this dish with bone-in chicken you will need to add additional cooking time.

I know without a doubt this is coming to become a staple in our monthly meal rotation.  I am already dreaming of the leftovers sitting in the fridge waiting to be reheated for dinner tonight!



Chicken Marbella
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10 boneless chicken thighs
1 head of garlic, chopped
¼ cup dried oregano
Salt and pepper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
¾ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers, with 1-2 tablespoons of the caper juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white wine

In a large bowl add the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, prunes, green olives, capers and bay leaves and stir to combine.   Add the chicken thighs and stir to cover the chicken with the marinade.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9×13 pan arrange the chicken in a single layer and spoon the marinade over the chicken evenly.  Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken and the pour the white wine over the top of the chicken.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, basting once or twice while baking.  Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, enjoy!

Source: a recipe  by Harrison and Sydney Autebach in a Taste of Home Cooking Cookbook.  

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