Silver Palate Chicken Marbella

5 from 37 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

The timeless recipe for one of the best chicken dishes ever from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Chicken Marbella is perfect for Easter and Passover.

Chicken Marbella on a lined baking sheet.

Chicken Marbella is one of the most delicious, innovative, and timeless chicken recipes ever created. The origin of Chicken Marbella was The Silver Palate catering and take-out shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and once it was introduced, it garnered an immediate following. It was made super famous when it was published in The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982.

Years ago, I even made it to take to a kindergarten potluck for one of my kids as a dish that embodied our family cooking. Side note and full disclosure: my father, Peter Workman, was the publisher of all of the Silver Palate Cookbooks, and Sheila had become a dear family friend. So not only was it a two-generation (now three) favorite dish to make and eat, but I really felt like Silver Palate Chicken Marbella was part of our family’s culinary history.

Serve with something simple and light, like Butter Lettuce Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and a simple couscous salad.

Chicken Marbella on a plate with olives, salad, and grains.

The timeless recipe for one of the best chicken dishes on earth: Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Tweet This

The Silver Palate Cookbook

When the actual recipe for Chicken Marbella was published in the groundbreaking The Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, it was a revelation because of its eccentric ingredient list –Vinegar? Olives? Prunes? Capers? Garlic? Brown sugar? White wine? All in one dish?

But to taste it was to be converted, and so for a nice chunk of time in the ’80s, this dish made appearances on tables all over the country, sometimes for family dinners, but more often for entertaining. I grew up on Chicken Marbella (my mother was an early adopter of it), and it was one of the first “grown-up” meals I served to family and friends as a budding cook. If you’ve never had it, I actually envy you trying it for the first time.

Chicken Marbella for Passover

Years later, this baked chicken recipe is often the centerpiece of my Passover menu, and often Rosh Hashanah as well. It’s kind of Sephardic Jewish in nature, with the dried fruit and the wine, so it feels perfect for the Jewish holidays. Even though times change, and we move on to new recipes, this is not a dish to forget, or imagine to be dated in any way.

The faultless and brilliant combination of flavors is timeless. Plus, the recipe is pretty foolproof, the chicken is unfailingly moist, and it can be made ahead. You don’t have to sear the chicken; just marinate and bake. It’s a fairly perfect chicken recipe. (And, yes, it’s Marbella, not Mirabella!)

Woman sprinkling brown sugar onto chicken on a baking sheet.

Chicken Marbella Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken – You can buy the pieces you like the best or use whole cut-up chickens
  • Red wine vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity to perk up the other ingredients.
  • White wine – Helps amplify all of the flavors.
  • Prunes – Add a slightly sweet flavor profile to this delicious chicken dish.
  • Spanish green olives – You can use them without pimentos or with (which I prefer).
  • Capers – Adds a salty pop. Save a bit of their juice for the marinade, as well.
  • Bay leaves and oregano – Dried herbs are perfect in this dish, adding earthy flavor.
  • Garlic – Peeled and finely pureed for maximum flavor.
  • Brown sugar – Some more sweetness to complement the prunes and give the chicken a burnished skin.
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley – Or fresh cilantro; either work.
Lined baking sheet with Chicken Marbella.

How to Make Chicken Marbella

  1. Prep the marinade: Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Spoon chicken and marinade into pan: 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 the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
  4. Bake: Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear juices when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Top and serve: With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.
Spoon scooping pan juices onto Chicken Marbella.

Storage and Leftovers

You can also enjoy Chicken Marbella at room temperature. Cool the chicken in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken. You can also eat it greedily cold from the fridge the next day for lunch. It’s one of my favorite leftovers of all time.

Reheat leftovers in a 350-degree oven, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until warmed to your liking.

What to Serve With Silver Palate Chicken Marbella

Plates of salad, olives, grain, greens, and Chicken Marbella.

More Chicken Recipes

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It
5 from 37 votes

Silver Palate Chicken Marbella

The timeless recipe for one of the best chicken dishes ever from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Chicken Marbella is perfect for Easter and Passover.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 People

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives (or with pimentos)
  • ½ cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic (peeled and finely pureed)
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each; quartered)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (or fresh cilantro; finely chopped)

Instructions 

  • Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • 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 the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
  • Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

Notes

Serving at Room Temperature
To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices or allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 359mg, Potassium: 210mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 448IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. I’m planning to make this for our seder this year. If using a combination of boneless breasts and thighs, would that require a reduction in cooking time?

  2. I loved it! I didn’t use the brown sugar since I’m a health nut, but with the prunes it was sweet and scrumptious already! I will be making again!!!

  3. Silver Palate yesterday, today and always! This was in my freezer when my boys came home. It brings me back to those precious, hazy baby days.

  4. This is five star recipe!
    Many thanks for reminding me of seders in the past when this was my “go to” recipe for the crowd.
    It’s good at room temp as well for later in the week.

    1. you can just reheat it in a 325°F oven for 20 minutes! Give the chicken a baste with the juices at the beginning.

  5. Hello all – I am making this for the first time for Passover seder on Saturday. I am using 5 lbs of boneless thighs. I used the full amounts for the marinade, but now wondering how much brown sugar to put on the chicken. The recipe calls for 1 cup. Should I use 1/2 a cup? I welcome your thoughts from those who have cooked this recipe using boneless vs. bone-in chicken. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ilona
      Just found your comment! I am making this for the Seder next week. Will call for tips! Cyn

  6. Hello Katie- I am a friend of your parents through Phyllis Grann. Chicken Marbella is one of the best dishes of all time. I just found out I will be hosting Passover due to a sudden change of events. But, no problem, I have the perfect recipe. I think of your magical father often. Send my best to your mother. CLARE Grossman

    1. Thank you so much for your note! I’m glad to know Chicken Marbella will grace yet another Passover table! And I’ll pass your hello on to my mom for sure.

  7. I have made this for family Seders for many years. I have made it with bone-in chicken pieces as well as boneless pieces (breasts cut in half or thighs). It’s easy and everyone seems to like it (although some family members ask for the cilantro to be put on the side). Sometimes I substitute parsley or chopped chives at the end. It has a Mediterranean/Sephardic flavor about it, no doubt from the capers, the fruit (prunes), and the garlic.