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Chicken Marbella

March 23, 2021
Elin Schoen BrockmanElin Schoen Brockman

Soon after The Silver Palate Cookbook became a smash hit in 1981, one of its iconic dishes, Chicken Marbella, became a staple of New York dinner parties. More than 30 years later, the recipe—with its aromatic blend of prunes, olives, capers, white wine, brown sugar, and tons of oregano and garlic—endures not only as a main course for all sorts of gatherings, but as a go-to entrée for the festive meals at many families’ Passover Seders.

Featured in: A Taste of Spain at the Seder: How to Make Chicken Marbella

Great for: Passover


  • 4chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
  • 1head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼cup dried oregano
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½cup red wine vinegar
  • ½cup olive oil
  • 1cup pitted prunes
  • ½cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • ½cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6bay leaves
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • 1cup white wine
  • ¼cup Italian parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Yield: Serves 10 or 12


  • Step 1

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

  • Step 2

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Step 3

    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.

  • Step 4

    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.

  • Step 5

    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 juice over chicken.

  • Recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

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