This incredible Northern Italian dish includes every flavor pleasing to the palate; sweet, salty, sour and savory. This is a recipe which I adapted from my mother’s northern Italian influence and a brilliant Sicilian chef whose shared expertise I hold dear as well. As a young teen, I fondly remember visiting my mother’s homeland near Naples, Italy and napping under a draping olive tree that encompassed her entire childhood home—what comfort and memories this cherished period of my life still provides today. Today, my friends, I share this treasured memory and recipe with you. Grazia mille Italia
2-1/2 -3 pounds of chicken; cut into pieces, bone-in, skin-on
1/2 head garlic, peeled, sliced thin or chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning or Herbs de Province
Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste (about 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted dried plums
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted green Sicilian olives sliced in half (Greek or pimento olives may be substituted)
1/4 cup capers, with a small amount of juice
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white or red wine
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
In a large bowl combine garlic, Italian seasoning or Herbs de Province, salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, plums, apricots, olives, capers with caper juice, 1 cup of wine and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade (use your hands to rub marinade into chicken and especially under the skin). Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight or up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Arrange the chicken in a single layer in two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes or one large baking sheet, spoon marinade, fruit and olives over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour remaining wine around them.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh juice runs clear yellow, not pink
With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, plums, apricots, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Add some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat. Serve hot or room temperature.