This is a dish I regularly cook for friends. All the work is done in advance – you can marinate it for up to 2 days in the fridge – and then it’s just into the baking tray and into the oven when you’re ready. The chicken loves the long marination but it can also be cooked straight away, if you don’t have the time. If you’re going to do this, just season the chicken with the teaspoon of salt and pepper (which would otherwise go into the marinade), rub it thoroughly into the skin before combining it with the rest of the marinade ingredients (no more salt required) and bake according to the recipe. I like to use chicken legs but others prefer chicken supremes, on the bone, which also work very well.
SERVES 4 GENEROUSLY 8 chicken legs, 60g capers, plus drumstick and thigh 2 tbsp of their attached, skin on juices and scored 3 or 4 120g Medjool dates, times to the bone pitted and (2kg) quartered 5 garlic cloves, lengthways peeled and crushed 2 bay leaves 15g fresh oregano, 120ml dry white picked, plus extra wine to serve 1 tbsp date 3 tbsp red wine molasses (or vinegar treacle) 3 tbsp olive oil salt and black 100g pitted green pepper olives
1 Place the chicken in a large, non-reactive bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the wine and date molasses, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Gently mix everything together, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1-2 days, stirring the ingredients a few times during the process. 2 Preheat the oven to 180C fan (200C/gas 6). 3 Spread the chicken legs out on a high-sided medium baking tray, along with all the marinade ingredients. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over the meat. Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes, basting two or three times, until the meat is golden-brown on top and cooked through. 4 Remove from the oven, transfer everything to a large platter, sprinkle over some freshly picked oregano leaves and serve.