Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken anything yummier?

This is my go to recipe for a crowd. It couldn't be easier and it packs a lot of flavor. Plus, it's even better the next day or served at room temperature.

What? Something that doesn't need last minute attention?? Hello, dinner party favorite! For this reason, when I catered my own rehearsal dinner (crazy I know) I made chicken marbella.

I substitute boneless chicken breasts, and make a mix of green and black kalamata olives. I also throw in some extra tasty!

I cannot thank the Silver Palate enough for this amazing dinner party standard, which I located on to put here. My comments are in red.


4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered **I use boneless breasts**
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
**or more**
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
**I use balsamic**
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
**I half that amount**
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
**I use parsley and fresh oregano**

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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.
**less time with boneless breasts...check them at 35 mins**

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 juices over chicken.

Spider Oreos

Much to the delight of my four year old, I made these spider oreos for his preschool halloween party. They are surprisingly easy to make, and a big hit.
Here's how to do it...

To make them, you'll need oreos (or some other sandwich cookie) and material for arms and legs. Here is what I used:

- pretzel sticks (halved)
- cinnamon drop eyes (for the kiddos I used white chocolate chips)
- store bought frosting (Hey, I already had some in the fridge)
- Oreos
- food coloring

1. Twist off apart the oreos, scrape the creme into a medium bowl. Set the cookies aside. Mix frosting into the creme to bulk up the filling. **I made about 16 oreo spiders and added about 1/2 cup of frosting** In order to make the mixture easier to work with, toss it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Stir in food coloring if desired. I made my spider creme orange.

2. Take bottom half of oreo. Pipe in about 2x-3x the usual amount of filling. You're building a bed thick enough to hold the "legs" in place. No piping bag? No sweat. You can put it in a ziplock baggie, nip the corner of the bag with scissors and squeeze gently. You'll get the job done.

3. Put on the legs. As any budding young entomologist will tell you, spiders have 8 legs. I used 1/2 pretzel sticks, but you could use any edible leg material like licorice.

4. Stick on the top cookie. Press gently but firmly. You might break one or two until you get the hang of it...I did!

5. Time for eyes! Use a dab of the creme filling to secure the eyes of your choice to the top of the cookie.

6. Enjoy! They are best enjoyed the same day.