I recently read an article (if only I could remember where, as I am constantly reading about food from a trillion different sources) about how Chicken Marbella could be the “new” classic, modern Jewish, Passover seder dinner. Well I swear, I realized this over a decade ago and couldn’t agree more!
As many of you know, Chicken Marbella is the quintessential recipe to come from the classic Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. The chicken pieces marinate for a minimum of 24-hours with prunes, olives, capers, oregano, garlic and are then baked to caramelized perfection with a crumble of brown sugar and a few glugs of wine. Chicken Marbella’s ingredients are indicative of those in the Sephardic Jewish food culture (with roots in Spain and Portugal) with a flavor dancing between sweet and savory. The fact that the dish is mostly prepared days ahead and can be served warm from the oven or at room temperature, makes Chicken Marbella ideal for a big holiday meal, such as Passover, but truly just right any old time.
I wrote about Chicken Marbella in the early days of Sly Rooster. It was included in my “All-Star Line Up” of go to dinner party meals. At the time of posting, my site wasn’t formatted with a Recipe Index and I didn’t seder that including multiple recipes in a single post would pose challenges. As a result, Chicken Marbella has flown under the radar and therefore I believe that the recipe bears repeating.
So once again, my gift to you, the ever-classic, always delicious, perfect for Passover or just any old dinner with friends…Chicken Marbella. Enjoy!
- 4 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered (I use 10 lbs of a combination of pre-cut breasts and thighs)
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
- 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, finely chopped
- In a large bowl combine the chicken with garlic, oregano, pepper, salt, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover or place in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate overnight or for several days.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange chicken in a single layer on 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.
- 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 juice (as opposed to pink).
- With a slotted spoon transfer the chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley. Pass remaining juices in a sauceboat.
- To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.