During the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020, my wife (who runs a cheese shop and restaurant) kept her team together by getting their chef to set a culinary challenge every week. The idea was that they all cooked it and sent each other pictures. Cooking Chicken Marbella was one of the challenges he set, and I couldn’t help giving it a go. It’s a classic dish, which I understand comes from New York, and is delicious. It can be served with almost anything.
Ingredients - serves 4
4 chicken legs
80ml white wine
1 tbsp treacle or molasses
For the marinade:
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
60g pitted green olives, chopped
50g capers, plus a splash of their brine
60g dates, ideally Medjool, pitted
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Score the chicken legs three times and place into a high-sided oven tray. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour it all over the chicken, rubbing the chicken legs to make sure that the marinade is absorbed. Cover and marinate in the fridge for not less than 4 hours, though overnight is best.
Preheat the oven to 180⁰C. Remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come towards room temperature. Whisk together the white wine and treacle and pour over the chicken. Make sure to coat the chicken legs well.
Roast the chicken in its oven tray for 45–55minutes, allowing the chicken to brown. Baste it two or three times as it cooks.
Serve the chicken at once, one leg per person, with a generous spoonful or two of the delicious sauce.