When you cook as often as I do, you sometimes feel yourself falling back on the same formulas. This chicken dish has been a favorite since my early small kitchen days. The version in our book is a bastardized Marbella with olives, dates, tomatoes and fresh oregano. The beauty of the dish, and the reason why there was a culinary movement among busy hostesses around The Silver Palette Cookbook, is that it can be assembled in its marinate the night before and baked-off when you’re ready to eat. The genius as a hostess’ family style feast is a no-brainer. But these rules apply equally to catering – if not more so.
For a while, I had a version of this dish on my dinner party catering menu. Instead of olives and dried fruit, I went an Italian route with sundried tomatoes, white beans, and lots of rosemary. I’ve been meaning to share the recipe on this site forever. But somehow, even though I’ve made it a dozen times, I never manage to snap a pic of the final dish.
Last weekend for the Easter lunch I catered, I tried out a new Moroccan-style version with preserved lemons and rosemary, inspired by this lamb marinade. Forty person meals are usually not the time to test out a new recipe for the first time. But given the results, I’m even more convinced that this formula is flawless.
I’ve simplified the marinade to share with you. You can add preserved lemons if you like. I did so before the actual baking of the chicken. But I figured you all might be a little sick of preserved lemons by now. I’m trying to control myself.
Try out this recipe for your next dinner party. You will be shocked by where you net out on the deliciousness to easiness ratio.
This dish is like a dumbed down Marbella, which is already pretty easy peasy. Feel free to add to it: dried fruit would be nice, as would preserved lemons.
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 12)
- 1/2 pound pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- In a large, gallon-sized Ziplock bag, combine the vinegar, Dijon, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and rosemary.
- Add the chicken and olives to the bag, seal tightly, and swish the chicken around until coated in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Transfer the chicken and as much of the marinade as you can squeeze out of the bag into a 9 x 13 making dish. Arrange the chicken in an even layer. Pour the white wine into the pan and sprinkle the top of the chicken with the sugar. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is very tender and the top is golden brown.
- Garnish with toasted slivered almonds and serve alongside quinoa, rice, or some crusty bread.