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Do you have a recipe that you love to talk about to friends or family? This flavorful chicken recipe is one of those because it is so easy and yet is very impressive in taste and flavor.
I really hope every one of my readers will try this recipe (actually all my recipes) at some point because as I always say – if I can make it so can you!
I adapted this recipe which originally appeared on the popular elanaspantry.com website and took the liberty to make some changes (and use her photo -full disclosure as I just don’t have a camera to take such good photos!). I removed a few ingredients and modified the measurements – especially since the recipe was based off a 2 lb chicken which I have never even seen a 2lb chicken.
For those of us who might be a bit gun shy about cooking a whole chicken – I’d suggest buying the chicken parts or cutting the chicken into parts as you would a chicken cacciatore – just adjust the cooking time appropriately.
1 whole chicken (I used a 4 lb. chicken, and used a thermometer to make sure it read 165F when done)
1 1/2 cup pitted green olives (I used Spanish olives and even left the pimentos in)
1 1/2 cup pitted prunes (buy the store brand in a box)
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cloves pressed garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey (I used a mix of both, and last time I did just honey – both taste great – the honey adds more sweetness)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (this adds a real nice tanginess to it)
Prep-work: This is one of the MOST critical steps – you’ve got to soak the chicken for at least an hour in a salt brine.
What’s a brine? It’s salted water. I fill a huge pan that the chicken will fit in and fill it quite a bit with water, pour in a bit of salt maybe 1/4 cup – I eyeball it. Soak it in the water in the fridge for a few hours, and then rinse it real well.
The salt relaxes the proteins in the chicken and so when it cooks the chicken comes out so tender it literally falls off the bone.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry
- Place the chicken breast side up in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
- In a large bowl, combine the olives, prunes, bay leaves, garlic, olive oil, honey/agave and apple cider vinegar
- Pour the mixture from the bowl in the dish around the chicken and rub the chicken with the flavored oil
- Bake at 425° F for 20 minutes covered lightly with foil
- Remove foil and lower heat to 375° F and continue to bake the chicken until it is cooked through and juice is clear, which can be anywhere from an hour to a little more depending on size of the chicken. If baking two chickens at once you don’t need to cook longer than a single one.
- Make sure the internal temperature reads 165F at the thickest parts. They say that’s the breast and the thigh – I check it all over as I get a bit paranoid.
- Remove from the oven, let everyone enjoy the aroma, serve and watch the compliments roll in! Make sure to plate it with the olives and prunes too.
As a dry run, I made this recipe this past weekend on a 4lb organic chicken for my husband and I which we bought at a local store that specializes in local organic and better than organic products called Native Harvest. Going to really miss them when we move to Ohio, and I hope someday they incorporate mail-order services. (hint hint if they are reading this…)
So I made the chicken and it came out excellent. I followed my instructions above and the cooking time was perfect – an hour and 20 minutes total. It made excellent leftovers for my lunch the next day and it was better than anything I could have ordered!
If you try this please let me know how it comes out and if it was a big success. I know it will be!
Wishing everyone a wonderful happy holiday and a very Merry Christmas where we always remember the real reason for the season!
Best wishes –