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Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella - A delicious recipe adapted from classic version featured in The Silver Palate Cookbook. Roasted chicken with a fantastic sweet and sour Mediterranean-inspired flavor!

Every few weeks, Jack and I sit down together to plan out the recipes we feature here on A Family Feast.  Sometimes we decide upon recipes that are centered around an upcoming holiday, or we’ll come up with a theme and then develop a week-long series of recipes.  Other times, we share recipes that you – our wonderful readers – have asked for over on our Facebook page or requesting in an email to us.  And other recipes are just favorites of ours that we’ve made over the years from some of our favorite cookbooks!

This Chicken Marbella recipe falls into that last category.  It’s a recipe from one of my long-standing favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate Cookbook, which features recipes from the food shop that shared the same name for many years in New York City.  The intro to this recipe in the cookbook says that Chicken Marbella was the first main-course dish to be offered at the shop – and it was popular with Silver Palate customers for many years!

Chicken Marbella - A delicious recipe adapted from classic version featured in The Silver Palate Cookbook. Roasted chicken with a fantastic sweet and sour Mediterranean-inspired flavor!

When I told Jack that I wanted to share this recipe here, he initially had his doubts about the combination of flavors.  The chicken is marinated in a combination of garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves – which is quite an eclectic combination of flavors!  But let me tell you – the end result is fantastic!

This Chicken Marbella is moist and tender with a crispy skin, and the marinade cooks into a wonderful sweet and sour sauce with Mediterranean-inspired flavors that is really delicious!  It’s gorgeous to look at with it’s deep caramelized skin against the bright green of the olives – making this perfect for a special dinner party.  But – it’s a snap to make – so you can easily make this for a weeknight dinner as well!

The original recipe also suggests that this recipe can be adapted using wingettes and drumettes, and serving it as an appetizer.  This Chicken Marbella is also delicious served hot or cold!

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Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella - A Family Feast

Note: The original recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook uses four 2½ pound chickens – which serves a large crowd. We cut the amount of chicken back to one 2½ to 3 pound chicken but left the solids the same since the finished dish seemed like it could use more of the fruit and olives. Our version is a loose adaptation of the original recipe. In preparing this dish, make sure you leave enough time to marinate overnight.

  • Prep Time: 12 hours 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 whole chicken, 2½ to 3 ½ pounds in weight, or purchase already cut chicken pieces (Note: When we shopped for this recipe, the only chickens left at the market were large roasters so our photograph is actually from a large six-pound chicken. Your chicken pieces will look smaller if you use the size of chicken listed in the recipe.)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic that has been passed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dry oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, left whole
  • ½ cup green Spanish olives, pitted and left whole (stuffed or not doesn’t matter)
  • ¼ cup capers with a little liquid
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


  1. Remove the backbone from the chicken and freeze for later for stock. Cut the chicken into quarters with breast and wing together and leg and thigh together. Place quartered chicken pieces in a zip lock gallon size bag.
  2. In a small bowl mix garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers, and bay leaves. Mix together and pour over chicken. Seal the bag and marinate overnight.
  3. The next day, 90 minutes before you want to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place the chicken pieces in a shallow baking pan and pour marinate over chicken and let solids fall around the chicken pieces.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken pieces and pour the white wine around the outside of the chicken.
  6. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, basting every 15-20 minutes. Pierce thigh and if juices run clear, pull them out of the oven. If a little pink, cook for ten more minutes.
  7. Note: Our giant six-pound bird took one hour. We also put ours under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the skin up but this is your choice.
  8. Remove to a platter and spoon prunes, olives and capers over each piece. Then sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro and serve the remaining liquid on the side.
  9. Another Note: We put our liquid in a gravy separator and skimmed off the fat before serving. The liquid is quite tasty actually and was good for dipping the chicken pieces in as we ate.

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    Leave a Comment


  1. WOW! this looks so good. I am not even a fan of green olives or capers, so the fact that I’m still hoping to make this soon says something 🙂 Beautiful photos!

    • Thanks Karen! The flavors really mellow during the baking process – I predict we’ll make a olives & capers lover out of you yet! Thanks for taking the time to write to us tonight! Martha

  2. This was every bit as delicious and the picture is beautiful! I used a package of 4 thighs and also 2 large breasts. I did turn the heat up toward the end to give it a charred look and crisp it a little!

  3. I had this amazing dish this past weekend that I dear friend of mine made. I forgot to ask her for the recipe so I’m trilled to have found it. Thank You!!!

  4. I made this tonight, it turned out great. The flavors meld so well together. I used boneless thighs and breast and came out very moist. I served this with a brocolli and kale salad and pearl coucous. Had pleanty of leftovers and i bet the flavors will be even better.

  5. Susan Woodbridge :

    I made this for diner tonight. I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs because my family likes them. I was delighted and a bit surprised how the flavors all come together to create such a wonderful feast. I served if with a rice blend of Texmati, White, Brown, Wild & Red. The sauce was too good not to use, and we enjoyed it over the rice. This would be a wonderful dinner for guests since all you really need to do is bake it on the day of. I will be enjoying this recipe for many years to come. Many thanks…

  6. Meals look delicious. I was to subscribe.