This chicken Marbella is a dish I regularly cook for friends. All the work is done in advance – you can marinate it for up to 2 days in the fridge – and then it’s just into the baking tray and into the oven when you’re ready. The chicken loves the long marination but it can also be cooked straight away, if you don’t have the time. If you’re going to do this, just season the chicken with the teaspoon of salt and pepper (which would otherwise go into the marinade), rub it thoroughly into the skin before combining it with the rest of the marinade ingredients (no more salt required) and bake according to the recipe. I like to use chicken legs but others prefer chicken supremes, on the bone, which also work very well.
SERVES 4 GENEROUSLY
8 chicken legs, drumstick and thigh attached, skin on and scored 3 or 4 times to the bone (2kg)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
15g fresh oregano, picked, plus extra to serve
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
100g pitted green olives
60g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their juices
120g Medjool dates, pitted and quartered lengthways
2 bay leaves
120ml dry white wine
1 tbsp date molasses (or treacle)
salt and black pepper
1. Place the chicken in a large, non-reactive bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the wine and date molasses, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Gently mix everything together, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1-2 days, stirring the ingredients a few times during the process.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C fan (200C/gas 6).
3. Spread the chicken legs out on a high-sided medium baking tray, along with all the marinade ingredients. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over the meat. Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes, basting two or three times, until the meat is golden-brown on top and cooked through.
4. Remove from the oven, transfer everything to a large platter, sprinkle over some freshly picked oregano leaves and serve.
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