Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicken Marbella

What - no pizza? no nachos? no ribs? no guacamole? On Superbowl Sunday?
You got that right. I'll leave those foods to the real football aficionados, while I head off to the movies tonight.

This recipe however, is an old favorite that would satisfy all foodies - whether they claim football, film, or anything else as their passion. It's adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook, and it is a great party dish since it can (and should) be prepared the night before to marinate.

If you've never had it and are glancing over the ingredient list and cringing at the thought of mixing prunes, olives and capers, my advice is: "don't knock it until you've tried it."
I have served this plenty of times, to people who claimed they didn't like either prunes, olives or capers. After tasting this dish, they became converts and were licking their fingers and asking for seconds. I'll bet you will too.

Chicken Marbella

The original recipe calls for using 4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered.
I like to buy chicken parts (thighs, legs and breasts WITH the bone) that have the skin removed. Otherwise, there's just too much grease. I also increased the amount of prunes and olives and blend the marinade in the food processor, to homogenize everything.

chicken parts, about 6-7 pounds
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 cups cups pitted prunes
1 1/2 - 2 cups olives (whatever kind you like)
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Place chicken parts in a large casserole (or two if you don't have one large enough).
  2. Place the following ingredients in a food processor and mix until emulsified: garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil.
  3. Pour the mixture over the chicken, and add the prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
  4. Remove the casserole(s) from the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 and pour white wine around chicken parts. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  6. Bake the chicken 50 minutes to one hour, basting frequently with pan juices.
  7. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Serve with polenta, rice or mashed potatoes to sop up the juices.


  1. This chicken was so good! I also had it last night...

  2. Linda, I love this recipe very much. I agree that this is a perfect recipe for any game, or sunday lunch.

  3. It's beautiful! I love all the sauce and goodness going on here.

  4. This looks so good, I've made a similar recipe from the All About Braising cookbook.

  5. Sweetsour flavors are tops by example, caponata! And as for putting dried fruits in foods that's another delicious winner in my book (but then I love just about everything).

    About your comment on the doggie coat....your sister will be getting a Lagotto???! By chance will it be from a breeder here? Lucky, lucky woman she'll be, with her very own truffle-hunting dog. I WISH my husband would allow another pooch in the home!

  6. Rowena - No, I tried when I was in Italy, but the process was too complicated. My sister-in-law is getting the dog from a breeder in Connecticut.

  7. What a great recipe. Thanks for sharing.