wine

Chicken Marbella is a dish first introduced in The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982. Its unique combination of prunes, capers, and green olives quickly captured the hearts of home chefs and remains a family favorite in many households throughout the United States today. So when a friend requested that I make an adaptation of the recipe, I was happy to give it a shot and see what I could do.

And truth be told, I didn’t make many changes from the original recipe, because it’s already delicious and uses whole ingredients. However, I only used dark meat (instead of a quartered whole bird) to make sure all of the pieces cooked evenly. I also made some minor ingredient changes, like adding half an onion and using a butter and honey glaze instead of a brown sugar coating typically used in this recipe. Altogether, it all adds up to a slightly magical experience: a gourmet-tasting dish that’s dead simple to make!

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Here in the United States, mussels have a bad reputation as being a “lesser” shellfish. I happen to disagree. True, they may have a less intense flavor than clams or oysters, and they sure like to turn into a rubbery / chewy mess with a quickness, but with the right amount of care you can make something remarkable. And to top it all off, mussels can be found for relatively cheap compared to their more popular cousins.

This preparation is a Provençal (SE coast of France) dish. The “à la marinière” part of this dish translates to “mariner’s style”, which is when shellfish is prepared with white wine and herbs. Although the white wine really enhances the mussels’ taste, I like to think that it’s the butter and cream that really do the trick. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

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