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Chicken Marbella or Chicken Cacciatore cooked the night before?

I was thinking for making one of these chicken dishes for a group of about 25. I don't want to be in the kitchen basting or worrying about bringing the chicken to a safe cooked temp while the party is in progress. Is it possible to cook the night before (or even that morning) and then just reheat in a low oven an hour before serving? Or will this dry the chicken out? Can I do this safely and then refrigerate the cooked chicken dish?
Has anyone had good or bad experiences with this?

asked by lloreen almost 2 years ago
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Monita

Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added almost 2 years ago

You can absolutely make the day before and re-heat before serving. I do that all the time without any problems. Chicken tastes just as good

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Seconding Monita. Absolutely works to cook it through the night before. They actually taste better, after marinating overnight.

Refrigerate overnight. If your fridge doesn't have room, store it overnight in a very cold garage or tightly covered on a fire escape, patio, car parked on the street, etc. (< 40 F). Be sure to bring it inside and allow to come to room temp before you put it in the oven to reheat. Getting to room temp could take over an hour if the casserole was in kept very cold overnight.

Even after it's room temp, I would allow more than 1 hour to reheat to room temp. If it's a 9x13 casserole, more like 1-1/2 hours at 375 (covered with foil). You want to see it bubbling around the edges.

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added almost 2 years ago

I also agree that you can make the night before. That will also give the flavors some time to meld. I agree with pegeen's suggestion that you take the chicken out of the fridge for some amount of time before heating it, but I don't think that heating it will take as long as suggested.

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Pegeen

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added almost 2 years ago

Hi keg72, I was assuming that lloreen had to heat more than 1 casserole if the quantity is for 25 people. So two or more casseroles in the oven would take a while to get nice and hot.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I'd give anything to have a Preview/Edit function for posting here! :-) Correcting grammar:

Seconding Monita. Absolutely works to cook it through the night before. They actually taste better, after marinating overnight.

Refrigerate overnight. If your fridge doesn't have room, store it overnight in a very cold garage or tightly covered on a fire escape, patio, car parked on the street, etc. (< 40 F). Be sure to bring it inside and allow to come to room temp before you put it in the oven to reheat. Reaching room temp could take over an hour if the casserole was kept very cold overnight.

Even after the casserole reaches room temp, I'd allow more than 1 hour to reheat. For example, if you have two 9x13 casseroles I'd plan closer to 1-1/2 hours at 400F for both of them in the same oven (covered with foil). You want to see it bubbling around the edges.

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added almost 2 years ago

Thanks for the advice! I do have an extra fridge, so I will be able to refrigerate the pans overnight. I'm thinking of just getting some disposable tin roasting pans because my normal ceramic baking dishes aren't big enough for 25 people.
I'll take it out at around 5:30 and put it in the oven at 6:30, hoping to feed everyone at around 7:30 and get them out the door at a reasonable hour!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

The big foil pans are a great idea. (It helps if all the pans are the same size and type, for heating and cooking.) Except I'd allow a little more time than 1 hour to heat through before serving, if you're doing multiple pans in the same oven.

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Pegeen

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added almost 2 years ago

lloreen - Sorry, more tips on Chicken Marbella. I've made it so many times, there should be something about it on my gravestone. I always nearly double the capers and olives. I use a lot more vinegar, olive oil and wine depending on how it's looking. If there's a lot of extra liquid, just boil it down on a low simmer to thicken it. Delicious.

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added almost 2 years ago

Thanks, Pegeen! I'll follow your guidance on the caper and olives. Do you think the full amount of brown sugar is necessary? I am hesitant to use so much, partly because I am not sure if there will be diabetics present....

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Pegeen

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added almost 2 years ago

lloreen, you could get away with a little less brown sugar. But its purpose is to caramelize the chicken (which it does well and to offset the acid in the dish - there is a lot, which tenderizes the chicken. I'm not big on sugar but I don't remember the recipe calling for too much. You could always use a little less. If you wind up draining any pan juices into a saucepan and boiling that down, you could add a little more brown sugar then if it tastes too acidic. It really is a great dish.

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Nancy

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added almost 2 years ago

yes (possible, reheat). no (dry out). yes (safely refrigerate). good (experience)...have a lovely dinner!

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I agree with Pegeen about increasing the olives and capers - sometimes I use black olives because my husband doesn't like green ones (I know, what?) It's fairly flexible, but I agree about not cutting back the brown sugar too much - that sweetness (and it's not super sweet), balancing the salty and sour flavors really makes this dish. One other tip - I use smaller pieces of chicken (e.g., separate leg/thigh, wing/breast) so the flavors really permeate the meat and there's also more caramelized surface. Great recipe, never gets old.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Forgot - I think it tastes even better made ahead and reheated. (Where's that edit button?)

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Pegeen

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added almost 2 years ago

Another thought on Chicken Marbella - best served with plain white or plain brown rice, not noodles, and slices of a good baguette for mopping up sauce. And now we have to move on to Chicken Cacciatore. :-)

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SMSF

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added almost 2 years ago

I love to serve Chicken Marbella with couscous - the flavors work great and the couscous gets all of that delicious sauce.

On another note, Cook's Illustrated did their take on a an improved technique for Chicken Marbella a couple of years ago. I don't recall the details but it sounded great. Anyone try their approach?

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I love it with cous cous too - perfect complement to its flavors.

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added almost 2 years ago

I have made Chicken Marbella exactly once, so I'm no CM expert, but I agree such dishes usually do taste even better after overnighting in the fridge. That said, I don't understand why this dish is so popular. I thought it was much too sweet and didn't care for it at all.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

SMSF, I had not seen the Cooks Illustrated update on Chicken Marbella but will have to go look it up

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added almost 2 years ago

They made a paste with prunes, olives, capers, garlic and oregano -- rather than marinating the chicken -- and they also added anchovies. They didn't use any sugar in the recipe either

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

I'm another who much prefers Chicken Cacciatore to Marbella. And Cacciatore also benefits from being made the night before you want to serve it. The flavors just intensify. I don't know whether I'd like to serve it in those disposable foil pans, though. Cacciatore is very tomato-ey, and the foil might make the dish taste tinny. I'd get some inexpensive hotel pans from a restaurant supply store and use those.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

If you go the Cacciatore route, one thought: it pairs perfectly with pasta - a short one to 'grab' the sauce like penne rigati, fusilli, farfalle, etc. Serving with pasta also means you can reduce the amount of chicken a bit, maybe making it a little easier to manage for a big group. (Then all you need is a good crusty bread and simple green salad for a perfect meal.) Honestly, even if I could cook it the same day, I'd opt to do a braise like this ahead for optimal flavor.