This is a great dish for company. You can get it ready the day before or early the day of your gathering and then just put it in the oven an hour before you want to eat. It’s exotic and fabulous and everyone loves it, even youngsters.
30 minutes to prepare marinade, several hours or overnight to marinate and 1 hour cooking
2 whole chickens, 3-4 lbs each, cut into pieces
1/2 head garlic, peeled and pureed
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander
2 tsp spanish paprika
fine sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
In a small pan, toast the cumin seed over medium high heat until fragrant and slightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a mortar and pestle and ground to a powder. Repeat same process with coriander seed. Then in a large bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, sea salt and pepper to taste, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, prunes olives, capers with a bit of juice and bay leaves. Add chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, take chicken out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkly chicken pieces with brown sugar to taste (1/4 cup for less sweet, 1/2 cup for more) and pour white wine around them.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices (although I did forget this and it turned out beautifully). Chicken is done if it feels tender when pierced with a fork and the juices of the thigh run clear, not pink.
Transer to a serving platter or bowl, top with marinade, juices and goodies from the pan. Then sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.