AN OLDIE BUT GOODIE – Chicken Marbella

Hi there,

Remember the 70’s? White suits, Afro’s, (even if you weren’t African American), Bee Gee’s, Abba, Mateus Rose, and Chianti Bottle candles. The top foods for entertaining were:

  • Pineapple Chicken. Basically anything with pineapple was fair game in the 70s due to an increased interest in Hawaiian culture.
  • Quiche. … 
  • Cheese Balls/Logs. … 
  • Carrot Cake. … 
  • Pasta Primavera. … 
  • Stuffed Vegetables and Meat. … 
  • Salad Bars with Ranch and Green Goddess Dressing. … 
  • Crepes
  • Then we grew up and discovered better wine and The Silver Palate Cookbook. We gave up the white suits but kept the music.

As much as I loved Julia, a lot of her recipes were so time-consuming. And as a mother of three young boys, I needed recipes that could be tackled easily. So long before I discovered arugula, pancetta, and pesto, I discovered the Silver Palate Cookbook. And Chicken Marbella became my go-to recipe.

As you can see from the above photo, I have made the recipe mine and made a few changes. So here is my 2022 version of the classic.

Chicken Marbella (updated)

  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • ½ cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1½ cups large pitted prunes, such as Sunsweet
  • 11/2 cups of dried apricots
  • 2 cups of pearl onions
  • 1 cup large green olives, pitted, such as Cerignola
  • ½ cup capers, including the juices (3½ ounces)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1½ heads of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and minced
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (4-pound) Bell and Evans chickens, backs removed and cut in 8 pieces or
  • 1 whole Bell and Evans roaster
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the marinade. (You can also place the chicken and marinade in a 2-gallon plastic storage bag and squeeze out the air to make sure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade.) Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally to be sure the marinade is getting into all of the chicken pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken, skin side up, along with the marinade in one layer in a large (15 × 18-inch) roasting pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, and pour the wine around (not over!) the chicken. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken is 145 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken, prunes, apricots, onions, and olives to a serving platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices.

28 responses to “AN OLDIE BUT GOODIE – Chicken Marbella”

  1. I still have that cookbook sitting on my shelf, Bernie, and I remember that I started making my own salad dressings after I was given the book (my staple before then was Good Seasons with its little cruet!).
    I often made the Chicken Marbella recipe for get-togethers. It’s a good dish, and I love that you roasted the whole chicken!

  2. Everyone should have at least one recipe that feels like your signature, and it sounds like this is the one for you. I love everything in it! You have the whole agrodolce thing going on with the dried fruit mixed with olives and the wine. Mmm… just let me know what day you’re making this, and Les and I will high-tail it up there with a bottle of wine!!

  3. What an interesting combination of ingredients, Bernadette. I would never have thought they’d go together. Of course, now I have to try it. Thanks for the groovy recipe. Lol 🙂

  4. I never got into the silver spoon cookbooks, but I know people loved them! And I’ve never heard of chicken Marbella but it’s very appealing!

  5. Oh My, this is something I must make. The ingredients are a mix that I think I will love, because I LOVE them all already. Will make soon. Thanks for this recipe.

  6. Bern, I love this cookbook, but must confess I never made the Chicken Marbella recipe. Having to mince all that garlic always steered me in a different direction. But it looks so good in your photo. I’ll have to reconsider!

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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