Chicken Marbella

The briny-sweet combination of prunes, capers and olives is what makes this dish so special. I was introduced to the original recipe from Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukin’s The Silver Palate cookbook back in the early 80’s and it has been my “go to” recipe when I need an easy, yet impressive, meal for family and friends. You combine the chicken with most of the ingredients, allowing time for everything to marinate (30-minutes or overnight). Then it all goes into a large baking dish to bake for about an hour. I use a whole chicken and cut it up myself. It’s really easy and I find that starting with a whole chicken results in a fresher tasting, moister end result. Whole chicken legs or bone-in chicken breasts are also fine to use.

Chicken Marbella


One whole chicken cut up or 6 chicken legs or 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup fresh oregano or 2 tablespoons dried oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup capers, plus 1-2 tablespoons of juice

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1/2 cup pitted dates

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Place the chicken in a large glass bowl or sealable plastic bag and add the garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, capers and caper juice, olives, prunes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Mix everything together, cover the bowl and place in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight. Stir the ingredients a few times while it marinates.
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  3. Spread chicken out in a large baking dish. Cover with marinade ingredients. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over the chicken. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, basting a few times, until the meat is golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with some oregano before serving.

Recipe adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook.

Note: I reduced the amount of the ingredients in the original recipe by half. The original recipe was meant to feed a crowd. I also reduced the amount of brown sugar in the original recipe because I think the sweetness of the prunes allows for less sugar. If you cut up your chicken, save the back bone for making stock.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Marie Landis says:

    This looks like a keeper! Thanks!


    Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2022 at 8:54 AM


    1. Judy Matusky says:

      Hi Marie, yes, this is one of my favorites. I reduced the amount of brown sugar in the original recipe because I think the prunes give it a natural sweetness.


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