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Recipe excerpted from ‘Seven Seasons on Stowel Lake Farm’

CHICKEN MARBELLA

This is an old French picnic dish—it’s traditionally served at room temperature, but I often serve it warm as a dinner entrée. Adults and kids love it for the wonderful combination of sweet and savoury.

Serves 4 to 6

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 free-range chicken (about 3 to 5 lb)
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup prunes or fresh plums
  • 1 cup Sicilian olives

The key to this dish is starting with a good-quality whole free-range chicken, ensuring excellent flavour. Pre-cut thighs or breasts work as well. Traditionally prunes and olives are tucked around the chicken, but I like to change the fruit with the seasons, like early apples or fresh plums in the summer. I’ve also started using quince in the autumn with really beautiful results. If you’re pairing with wine, a good merlot really complements the Mediterranean herbs and the sweetness of the dried plums.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place cut-up chicken in 9 x 12-inch baking pan. Cut prunes or plums in half and remove any pits. Pour wine and olive oil over the chicken. Sprinkle remaining ingredients overtop, pressing olives and prunes down in between the chicken pieces. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until golden brown.