Monday, August 29, 2016

Roast Chicken with Green Olives and Dates

I had planned to post on here a lot more often this past month while on my Cardiology research elective, but I clearly angered some dark spirits who had other plans. Never in all my days have I experienced such an unfortunate series of (technologic) events, from a computer that passed rather suddenly of unknown etiology to a car repair with unexpected delays (thank gaaawd for Uber). Seriously, there are few things more aggravating than hours of futile phone calls begging to the least incompetent store "manager" available about getting my computer back from repair abyss. Although annoying, these problems are trivial and I remind myself of my many good fortunes.

[Insert seamless transition to chicken recipe]...nah. Won't even attempt to disguise this rant as an introduction to the recipe. Just needed to vent.

Sooo...chicken. Surely I'm not the only health conscious person with a perception of baked chicken as dry and rubbery. Whether cooking it at home or ordering it off a restaurant menu, chicken far too often elicits this feeling much like when you agree to a mediocre...err, movie for Netflix and chill. Regret. With so many busts, I treasure when chicken recipes are satisfying and truly orgasmic. This is one of them.

They say there are two types of men in this world. I'm admittedly...well, let's just say I'm pleased that this recipe uses the meaty thighs and legs of the bird. Yes, breast meat is a bit leaner and "healthier," but if you dislike it, what's the point? A sustainable diet must be balanced and absolutely requires that you love your food. That's exactly what this Yotam Ottolenghi creation delivers.

Like most Ottolenghi recipes, the ingredients are unexpected, brilliant and bursting with flavor. Like seriously, who would think chicken marinated in a mixture of dates, green olives, capers, oregano, wine and date syrup would be so magical?!  And the best part, it's foolproof!

Though the recipe may seem intimidating with long marinating times (48 hours) and exotic ingredients (date syrup), it's actually very simple. I found date syrup at my local Whole Foods, but it's also readily available on Amazon. (So no excuses)! As for the marinade, a little foreplay goes a long way. I promise. Just massage the mixture into your chicken thighs and allow it to sit in the fridge for a couple of days. This dish is perfect for cooks of all levels, from first timers to experienced. It is guaranteed to wow your dinner guests and leave them gossiping about last night.

Tips/Tricks to Make Perfect Roast Chicken with Green Olives and Dates:
  • Use good wine that you enjoy drinking. You only need 1/2 cup, then serve the rest with dinner!
  • Plan ahead and let the chicken marinate for 48 hours. (24 hours minimum).
  • Make extra. You'll want leftovers.
  • Cook the chicken with the skin left on (it will keep everything moist and flavorful), but avoid eating the skin (it's high in saturated fat and cholesterol).
  • Have fun mixing different olives. Sneak some samples at the olive bar and pick your favorites! 

Roast Chicken with Green Olives and Dates Ingredients:
  • 6-8 chicken leg quarters, skin on
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 grams oregano leaves, torn (plus extra for garnish)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 grams pitted green olives
  • 60 grams capers
  • 2 tablespoons caper juice
  • 70 grams pitted Medjoul dates, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio, Albarino)
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup
  • Kosher salt and pepper 

Roast Chicken with Green Olives and Dates Recipe:
Two days prior to serving:
In a non-reactive bowl, mix together all the ingredients, except the white wine and date syrup. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper and mix well.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours, mixing occasionally.

One hour prior to serving:
Preheat oven to 355 F.

Spread the chicken quarters and marinade onto a large baking tray. In a separate bowl, whisk together the white wine and date syrup and then pour over the chicken.

Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes, basting 2-3 times until the skin is a beautiful golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from oven. Transfer to a serving platter, if desired. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves and enjoy.


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