When people long for something, sometimes its wistful. Other times its lustful. It may be with sadness, hope, desire or remembrance. We long according to what our hearts say or dictate. We are puppets to our heartstrings.
Recently, I lost my mom to an aortic aneurysm. Suddenly, and catastrophically. While I am saddened by her leaving us so unexpectedly, I take comfort that it was quick and not a lengthy death.
My friend Lois Presley, gave me a cookbook at mom’s passing. Ina Garten, “Cook Like a Pro” to be exact. And during this time of longing for my mom’s voice, I turn to cooking for comfort. With a nod to Ina Garten and the Silver Palate cookbook, I give you my variation of Chicken Marbella. Interesting, complex, soothing, wonderful. Just like my mom.
8 lbs chicken thighs, skin on. (Plenty of leftovers. or great for a dinner party)
1/2 C EVOO
1/2 C Red Wine Vinegar (Buy the good stuff-trust me)
8 Medjool Dates, pitted. Rough chop. (Like 6 pieces from each)
1 C Cerignola green olives, pitted (May have to pit yourself. I did. good whack with flat side of a chefs knife and remove the pit)
1/2 C Kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 C capers
6 dried bay leaves
1 1/2 heads of garlic-peeled, cloves separated, minced. (This is the hard part but a true deliciousness)
1/4 c dried oregano
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1/2 C Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed (Note: I used Trivia Brown Sugar Blend. Or go with your favorite brand of brown sugar.)
1 C Pinot Grigio. Remember-use wine you want to drink. If you won’t drink it, why would you put it in your food?)
Putting It Together:
THE DAY BEFORE YOU WANT TO EAT THIS:
Mix marinade together: red wine vinegar, olive oil, dates, olives, capers, garlic, oregano and bay leaves in large bowl and stir. Add in chicken. Make sure that the chicken is submerged in the marinade. Let it marinade for 24 hours. And stir occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the marinade into bottom of large roasting pan. (Ina recommends 15 x 18 inch roasting pan. I had to use 2 pans). Then add the chicken, skin side up on top of the marinade and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Top with Kosher salt and black pepper.
(time to clean the oven!)
Pour the wine AROUND the chicken into the marinade. Not over! You want the skin to crisp up with the spices.
Roast for 45-55 minutes. Make sure the internal temp is 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and place 1/4 C of the pan juice on a serving platter. Place chicken on top. Make to offer the olive and date mix marinade on the side with the chicken.
This is one of the dishes where you just may want to lick the pan!
Love you Mom!