Chicken Marbella

25 Nov

Chicken MarbellaI figured by now everyone has their Thanksgiving dinners planned so I would not burden you with yet another holiday recipe. Here’s a good one for any company dinner. The recipe makes enough to serve quite a crowd but you can easily halve it and use two chickens  if you’re serving only eight or 10 people. It’s probably not worth the patchke to make it with just one chicken, so save this recipe for a special occasion.

I got this recipe many years ago from my dear friend Ann Wanetik, who served it at a buffet. I didn’t eat it at the time because I was busy chowing down on the rib roast she also served – I love rare beef, and my hubby doesn’t, so I hardly ever make it but I eat it whenever I can.

Even though other guests raved about the chicken, I didn’t make it for a long time because the ingredients are very weird – I mean really, green olives and prunes and capers and brown sugar? But it’s absolutely delicious, and every time I’ve served it I’ve gotten the same rave reviews Ann got.

Be aware that you need to start the preparation the night before, or at least early in the morning, so the chicken has time to marinate in the seasonings before you cook it.

I didn’t have an easy way to puree the garlic so I chopped it very fine, which seemed to work.

This dish goes very well with plain rice or couscous or a pilaf.


4 chickens, 2½ pounds each, quartered
1 head garlic, pureed
¼ cup dried oregano
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


Place the chicken quarters in a deep pan or large freezer bag. Mix all the other ingredients except the brown sugar, white wine and parsley. Pour over the chicken, cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour the white wine over it all.

Bake for at least 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Test for doneness by pricking a thigh at its thickest part; juice will run clear, not pink. The chicken should be nicely browned.

Transfer the chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter and pour over a few spoonsful of the pan juices. Sprinkle with parsley. You may want to serve the remaining pan juices as a gravy.

Serves 16


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