Chicken Marbella

The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella–quartered chickens marinated overnight in oil, vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and herbs then baked with brown sugar and white wine–is a classic. 

Pieces of chicken Marbella, topped with plums and herbs, with olives scattered around, on a white platter.

The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella–quartered chicken marinated overnight in oil, vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and herbs then baked with brown sugar and white wine–is a classic. Skin-on thighs and drummies (as pictured) are often used, too. Either way, it’s delicious. We vastly prefer it with bone-in, skin-on chicken though—and extra olives.–Renee Schettler

Chicken Marbella

Pieces of chicken Marbella, topped with plums and herbs, with olives scattered around, on a white platter.
More than any other recipe in Sheila Lukins's wildly successful The Silver Palate Cookbook, which she co-authored with Julee Rosso in 1979, Chicken Marbella became a standard at dinner parties — bold, sweet, and savory flavor made with lots of garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, oregano, dried plums, and olives.
Joan Nathan

Prep 25 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 3 hrs
Entrees
American
8 to 10 servings
776 kcal
5 / 6 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The New American Cooking cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients 

  • Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound bone-in, skin-on chickens, cut into pieces
  • 1 garlic head finely puréed
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups pitted dried plums
  • 1 cup pitted green olives or a mix of olives such as Greek, Moroccan, or French
  • 1/2 cup capers with about a tablespoon of their juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves

Directions
 

  • Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add the garlic, oregano, coarse salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, dried plums, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Rub the chicken well with the marinade and refrigerate, covered, ideally overnight but at least for 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Arrange the chicken in a single layer in 1 or 2 large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around but not on them.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the pan juices.
  • Using a slotted spoon, arrange the chicken, dried plums, olives, and capers on a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Serve the remaining pan juices in a separate bowl.
Print RecipeBuy the The New American Cooking cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

*Can I use other cuts of chicken in chicken Marbella?

The original Silver Palate chicken Marabella uses quartered chickens. If you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts, feel free to use whatever you please. Just be aware that you will miss out on the sweetly caramelized skin. Feel free to use any combination of chicken that you like, just make sure to adjust your timing in the oven. 

Show Nutrition

Serving: 8servingsCalories: 776kcal (39%)Carbohydrates: 58g (19%)Protein: 74g (148%)Fat: 25g (38%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 218mg (73%)Sodium: 973mg (42%)Potassium: 1684mg (48%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 44g (49%)Vitamin A: 711IU (14%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 103mg (10%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Every last one of my guests raved about this dish. The blend of flavors and textures is exciting to the palate, and it is visually stunning. I called my mother the next day to tell her that I have a winning recipe for her to make the next time she hosts her bridge club.

This smelled absolutely delicious as it cooked. The flavor was excellent as well, quite sweet; I found it went well with a saltier side dish. If I were to change anything, it would be to reduce the pan sauces a bit more before serving.


Originally published May 3, 2005

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is Just Delicious! So many flavor notes. Is that a thing ? 🙂 A Keeper. I did adjust the garlic and use 1/2 the amount suggested.
    Again, technically speaking: Yummy 🙂 Stay Safe !

    1. Thanks, Randi! We’re so pleased that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  2. 5 stars
    I thought this was a little sweet, but my family went nuts for this dish. They even ate it the next day as leftovers, which for some of them is unheard of. The mixed olives are attractive and tasty alongside the chicken.

  3. 5 stars
    This is a delicious and simple to make recipe. I actually had all the ingredients at home, which made it easy for me. The contrast of the sweetness of the dried plums and sugar with the vinegar, olives, and capers gave the recipe a sweet-and-sour taste. I found that the chicken tasted even better the next day, since it absorbed the taste of all the other ingredients.

  4. 5 stars
    This is excellent and originally I found this recipe years ago in one of the Silver Palate cookbooks. Serve this with couscous. Great dish for a crowd.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish