If you put the word “caramelized” in a recipe title, I am going to try it. The idea of caramelization is enough to make my mouth water–that is, until I hear the word “prune” which evokes ideas of irregularity. 🙂 However, this recipe, from Chocolate and Zucchini, figures out a way to combine prunes, olives, and chicken to make a fabulous dinner that everyone will love.
(image and recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini)
8 free-range chicken legs (thigh + drumstick, about 3kg or 6 1/2 pounds total), cut in two at the joint
130g (3/4 cup) green olives
300g (10 oz) pitted prunes, roughly chopped (I use kitchen shears)
3 cloves garlic, crushed (I used a rounded teaspoon organic garlic paste)
4 bay leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (vinaigre de xérès in French)
3 rounded tablespoons dried oregano (I used organic oregano from Crete)
Fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
the leaves from 1 small bunch fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley can be substituted)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Start the recipe the night before. In a large salad bowl, combine the chicken, olives, prunes, garlic, and bay leaves. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and oregano. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Pour over the chicken, and combine until the marinade coats the chicken thoroughly; it works immeasurably better if you use your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator an hour before baking. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the chicken in a baking dish large enough to accommodate it in a single layer (I had to use two).
Pour the remaining marinade (and any remaining solids) over the chicken, sprinkle with the sugar, and add the white wine. Place in the oven and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hour, basting and flipping the thighs every 20 minutes or so, until the juices run clear, the meat is caramelized, and your boyfriend says that really, that chicken smell is torture.
Sprinkle with cilantro and almonds, and serve.