Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella
Chicken Marbella
This image courtesy of Patrick Tregenza

Editor's Note: When it comes to feeding a crowd, you can't go wrong with this recipe for Chicken Marbella! The classic Italian recipe is filled with a robust flavor that everyone will love. Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients; this recipe is actually easy to make, and some of the prep work can even be done the night before you plan to cook the dish. Serve a fresh green salad and pasta on the side for a truly hearty meal that is perfect for almost any occasion on your calendar. This is one recipe that will make family and friends say "Mamma mia!"

This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate shop, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives, and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It’s good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious appetizer. The overnight marination is essential to the moistness of the finished product: The chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.

Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish, we give quantities to serve 10 or 12, but the recipe can successfully be divided to make a smaller amount if you wish.

Serves16 pieces, 10 or more portions

Cooking MethodBaking



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseAppetizer, Main Course


Taste and TextureJuicy, Meaty, Rich, Savory, Spiced, Sweet


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 chickens (2½ pounds each), quartered
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

  4. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.


To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.ved juice over the chicken.


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To: Aptivus. Use whatever brown sugar you have, light or dark, it really doesn't matter. Recipes are merely guidelines (except for baking) - use more or less of any given spice or herb according to your taste, and ALWAYS add salt & pepper to taste. That's what cooking is all about. To become a good cook, put down those measuring spoons and season the way all good cooks do all over the world - by tasting as you go. It will develop your palate.If you want to know the internal temperature for cooked chicken just Google it! However, if you need this much direction, perhaps you'd be better off dining out.

brown sugar? what kind of brown sugar- light or dark? and how about the chicken? don't you think that you should include a recommendation for internal temperature of the chicken, after baking, for safety sake? and how about the salt and pepper quantities for the marinade? You include the quantity of the dry oregano, which is quite assertive. Why not suggest a quantity of salt and pepper to add at the start, and then specify to the cook to taste the marinade mix after stirring it all together but before adding the chicken? Thanks for listening!

This recipe should be a joke, mired in the 80s. But it just isn't. Its a perfect party dish today and I bet it will be in another 20 years, too. Simply, a classic.

This is my go-to dinner party dish. But try it with dried apricots instead of prunes sometime. It's amazing.


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