Monday, February 7, 2011

chicken marbella

Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

I’m pretty sure many of you have made this chicken dish before because as I was researching it, I found it everywhere. Everywhere, except for my recipe box that is. I can’t believe I’ve missed this one – it’s really good. We ate this late on a Sunday evening after a long afternoon of snowmobiling. Chicken roasting in the oven creates the best smells in the kitchen. This dish is full of the great flavors of the Mediterranean: olives, wine, capers, and amazingly - prunes. It’s that classic combo of sweet and salty. This is definitely a keeper!

Here’s what you need:
1 chicken, quartered, bone-in, skin-on (I cut the breasts in half to create 8 pieces of chicken)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ C red wine vinegar
¼ C olive oil
½ -1 C pitted prunes (my favorite part of the entire meal)
¼ C pitted Spanish green olives (or more)
¼ C capers with a bit of the juice
3 bay leaves
¼  C light brown sugar
½ C white wine
Optional - parsley for garnish

Here’s what you do:
Create a marinade by mixing the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves. (Save the sugar and wine for the next step.) Rub this marinade all over the chicken and under the skin. Cover and refrigerate over night.

The next day, place chicken in a single layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish and spoon marinade evenly over chicken. Also, sprinkle the brown sugar over each piece of chicken. Pour the wine around the pan. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Test for doneness by piercing thickest part of a thigh and making sure the juice runs clear and yellow. There should be no pink juice at all.

With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a baking sheet and place under the broiler to crisp up the skin, being careful not to burn it. Drain the remaining sauce through a wire sieve into a small sauce pan reserving the olives, capers and prunes. Set this sauce pan in a bowl of ice and allow the fat to congeal. (It took about 5 minutes or so.) When the sauce has cooled sufficiently, remove the fat, and quickly heat up the gravy on the stove.

Return the olives, capers and prunes to the chicken. Serve the sauce over the chicken or on the side in a gravy boat. We had this with rice which was the perfect accompaniment for that glorious gravy.

(printable recipe)

I’m curious to know how many of you have made this. Am I really the last one on earth to discover this beauty?


  1. My aunt used to make this dish! I have been looking for the recipe forever, but had no idea that it was called Chicken Marbella. Looks yummy!

  2. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the sauce! It was so, so good!

  3. I love all the ingredients in this recipe. What a great chicken dish!

  4. This looks very good...I'm sure the chicken is so juicy after marinating overnight! Do you think I could leave out the olives? There one of the very foods I don't eat. Sorry I went MIA, but the sickness at my house slowed down my computer time for a couple of weeks!

  5. @Wendy - sorry to hear about sickness - yucky time of year! I think you could leave out the olives, but I must say they really make this dish come alive. :)


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