bringing back chicken marbella

in my 20s and early 30s i traveled back and forth from the tri-state area to florida keeping golf season alive. i did this for about 8 years...i guess you can say i was a young 'snow bird'. i loved my florida life and was especially fond of jupiter, where i spent a lot of time with my friends, whom i met through game of golf.

i can't remember the exact dinner party, but my girlfriend, denise, served the most delicious chicken dish. i remember the dish well, because it had olives(my fav) and prunes! i don't think at that point i had eaten a lot of prunes in my life, so i found it to be memorable and thought the dish was yummy and interesting. denise's chicken dish popped into my head just the other day... looked up chicken, olives and prunes and poof, up popped chicken marbella!

of course, i had to give it a go! needless to say, it was even more delicious than i remember and my family thought the same.

chicken marbella was supposedly an 80s cult fav and i'm not sure why it hasn't been resurrected... i'm sure it could be tweaked a bit for an update, but the original is salty, sweet and savory... comfort food for sure!

the chicken is supposed to be marinated in the sauce overnight, but i whipped it together last minute and the chicken still came out lovely. i bet with a 24 hour marinade or even a few hour marinade, your chicken marbella will be divine.

recipe adaptation from the silver palate cookbook

components |

  • 1/2 cup olive oil | and another 2 tablespoons to sear if not marinating overnight

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 cup pitted prunes | i used bite-sized

  • 1/2 cup pitted spanish green olives | i used italian olives

  • 1 jar of capers, with juice

  • 6 bay leaves | i used fresh bay

  • 1 head of garlic | peeled and finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup of fresh oregano, chopped or 1/4 cup of dried | i used dried oregano

  • 2 teaspoons of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 chickens, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds each | quartered

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 cup of brown sugar | i used 1/2 cup of date sugar

  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley | finely chopped

in a large bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and chicken... combine, either cover or place in a good plastic bag to refrigerate overnight or for as long as you can

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. i like crispy chicken, so because i didn't have time to marinade overnight, i decided to sear my chicken first in 2 tablespoons of oil on medium high heat until the skin is nice and crispy

arrange chicken in a baking dish and pour marinade on top

add the white wine and spoon the date or brown sugar over the chicken

bake off the chicken for about 50 to 60 minutes... once the chicken begins to brown, baste 2 to 3 times with the pan juices until completely cooked (if your chicken browns very quickly, not a big deal... simply cover with foil

i usually can tell when my chicken is finished cooking by touching it, but try forking the chicken or place a little cut and if the juices run clear, then it's done

serve chicken on a warm serving platter and spoon over the prunes, olives and capers; keep warm...

place roasting over medium to high heat... bring pan juices to a boil. reduce for a few minutes and then strain into a small bowl or gravy boat, add parsley and pour over chicken to finish off. serve with rice, quinoa or a simple salad

i love this comforting dish and hope you do too! always love to hear your thoughts...

xo gia

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photos of Gia by Monika DeMyer Photography