Chicken Marbella

Dinner1-PotGluten-FreeChicken

Chicken marbella recipe, classic chicken party dish, chicken cooked with white wine, prunes, green olives. Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of the finest dishes ever to come out of The Silver Palate Cookbook, Chicken Marbella is chicken first marinated in oil, vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and herbs, then baked with added brown sugar and white wine.

Prunes are the distinctive ingredient in this famous dish. They’re actually used often in classical French cooking, and the Silver Palate recipe borrows heavily from the French traditional lapin aux pruneaux.

While prunes and capers might seem like an odd combination, when cooked together with chicken they create a delectable sweet and sour, savory flavor. Chicken Marbella is a great dish for entertaining, not only is it easy to put together without a lot of hands on cooking time, but it’s also a real crowd pleaser.

The original recipe calls for the chicken pieces to be marinated all night. We found that marinating for 2-3 hours worked fine.

From the recipe archive, first posted 2005.

Chicken Marbella Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Marinating time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5-8

Although the original recipe calls for 2 small chickens to be quartered, you could easily do this recipe with 5 pounds of chicken pieces, thighs and breasts.

Ingredients

  • 2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on
  • Cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

Method

1 Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.

2 Place chicken in baking pan, top with marinade, brown sugar, wine: Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour white wine around them.

3 Bake until done: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the pan juices. Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

4 Serve with pan juices: With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. A blogging pioneer, Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. In 2012 Elise was named "one of America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food" by The Daily Meal. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University. She lives in Carmichael, California.

More from Elise

Slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

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126 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Jill

    I made this with boneless and skinless thighs. Worked well and the taste is fabulous. It did make a lot of juice though. Has anyone added thickening?

  • R Barnes. Southampton UK

    I made it for my family with boneless thighs only and added half the amount of oregano at is is quite a lot and a strong flavour. 10 thighs with all the same quantity of other ingredients and it was perfect.

  • P. Bennett

    I would like to make this with split (1/2) Cornish game hens. Any changes suggested?

  • Aynne Ames

    I live alone and love this dish but don’t want to be eating it for the next two years. I see even the “for two” recipe calls for TWO CHICKENS. Can this be made well in smaller quantities?

  • Anne

    Has anyone tried to make this with boneless skinless chicken breasts?

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