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Chicken Marabella: a Silver Palate classic

Find Chicken Marbella and more recipes at   Recently we ate Chicken Marbella at a friend's party and were reminded how fabulous a classic dish can be.  Not only is this chicken classic beautiful to look at, it tastes simply wonderful with its blend of sweet and savory flavors.

One bite and it's easy to see why it's been popular with home cooks for over 25 years.

This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate shop.  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 hors d'oeuvre.

The overnight marinating 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.

The recipe may be doubled for entertaining.

Editor's Note: Sheila Lukin, 66, who co-authored The Silver Palate Cookbook with Julee Rosso, her business partner, died of brain cancer Sunday, August 30, 2009. Lukins and Rosso were pioneers in the  New American food movement of the 1980s.

Chicken Marbella

serves 6


2 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
2 tablespoons dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/4cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/2cup brown sugar
1/2cup white wine
2 tablespoons Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

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

In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

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

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


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