Do you still have loads of dried plums left over from your (or a neighbor's) tree from last summer? Do you have any leftover bay leaves you dried last winter?
Here is one good way of using up those plums to make way for this year's crop. It is my take on the classic Chicken Marbella from the Silver Palate cookbook ca. 1982. Throw in some fresh garlic, oregano and Italian parsley from the garden to make the flavors really stand out. This is an extremely easy recipe to whip together - the only thing you have to remember is to prepare it the night before so the chicken has ample time to lounge in the marinade.
Since I generally don't cook for hoards of people, I've cut down the amount from the original recipe. Also, since I'm a breast man, I mean woman, I used bone-in chicken breasts instead of thighs. This recipe serves 4 - 5 (depending on how you cut up the chicken).
Crunchy Chicken Marbella
2 bone-in organic chicken breasts (approx. 2 lbs)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 bay leaves
1.5 cups dried, pitted plums, chopped into smallish chunks
1 cup green olives (I leave the pits in)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh (or dried) oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Viognier)
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
With a large knife, split the chicken breasts into more manageable sizes - I cut mine up, yielding servings for 5. Rinse and pat dry (mostly to remove little bits of bone). In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, bay leaves, dried plums and green olives. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and oregano. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken and combine well, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the chicken in a single layer in a large, shallow baking dish. Spoon the remaining marinade (make sure you include the plums, olives and bay leaves) over the chicken evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and add the white wine around the chicken.
Bake for about 45 minutes or so, flipping the chicken every 20 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.
Transfer the chicken, plums and olives to a serving platter and moisten with the pan juices. Sprinkle with parsley.
Make sure each serving gets an ample amount of the plums and olives - they are what makes this meal stand out!