Chicken Marbella

(recipe, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins, Michael McLaughlin)


This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate, and 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 marination is essential to the moistness of the finished product. The chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration, and it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.


  1. 4 chickens, 2½ pounds each (10 pounds total), quartered
  2. 1 head garlic, peeled and finely puréed
  3. ¼ cup dried oregano
  4. Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. ½ cup red-wine vinegar
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 1 cup pitted prunes
  8. ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
  9. ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  10. 6 bay leaves
  11. 1 cup brown sugar
  12. 1 cup white wine
  13. ¼ cup Italian parsley or cilantro, finely chopped


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the 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.
  3. 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.
  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juice and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.


To serve 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 the chicken.