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Chicken Marbella

The Classic Silver Palate Cookbook Recipe by Sheila Lukins

Written By: Byron | February 12, 2024
A large casserole dish of chicken Marbella sist beside some fresh herbs and lemon.

Chicken Marbella is known for being a hit 80’s dinner party recipe created by Sheila Lukins and found in The Silver Palate Cookbook. But its popularity and success are still alive and well, and for good reason. This is one of the tastiest chicken recipes you will EVER cook. 

Of course, you don’t have to wait for a dinner party to make it. Treat yourself or your family as soon as you can! The contrast between the sweet and tangy flavors makes this dish truly special. This recipe has a minimum of 8 hours to allow the chicken to marinate but don’t be put off by that, as it is a delightfully easy recipe to make. Marinate it overnight and you’re good to go!

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Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

9 hours (minimum)

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Rice, steamed veg, salad

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to Make Chicken Marbella

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 large bay leaves (or 6 small)
  • ½-1 head of garlic, peeled. 
  • 1/8 cup dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 lb (2.25 kg) chicken pieces with skin and bone
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped (for garnish)

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Garlic crusher
  • Plastic wrap
  • Casserole dish or baking tray
  • Tongs or slotted spoon
A large casserole dish loaded with chicken pieces sits besides small bowls of spices and ingredients used to make chicken marbella.

Method 

Day 1 – Prepare and Marinate Chicken Pieces 

  • Add the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix well. 
  • Put the chicken in your casserole dish and coat the pieces with the sauce. 
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight

Day 2 – Cook Chicken and Serve

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge, sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces, and pour the white wine around them. 
  • Add the chicken to the oven and baste every 20 minutes with the pan juices, until the chicken is cooked (50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the cuts of chicken and size). 
  • Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers directly to plates or a serving platter. Add some of the pan juice to each piece of chicken and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro (or optionally, serve on the side).
  • Pour or spoon the rest of the pan juice into a sauce dish to add as you like.

Cooking notes: 

  • The original recipe uses ½ a head of garlic for the quantity we made. If you love garlic, like we do, throw a whole head in. You can also cut down on the brown sugar if you want it to be healthier but the sweet and tangy contrast is a flavor sensation. 
  • You can use a whole chicken and cut it into pieces or use chicken breasts, chicken drumsticks, or chicken quarters. You choose! 

    About the Chicken Marbella Recipe

    The Chicken Marbella recipe is somewhat of an 80’s recipe superstar. It’s found in The Silver Palate Cookbook, which you can still buy today. 

    Marbella is a stunning coastal city in the south of Spain, found in the Andalucia region. Both the city and region are hugely popular with tourists for the landscape and food. So, how did this recipe get its name?

    Despite being called Chicken Marbella, this isn’t one of those traditional Spanish recipes like gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp). But it does have plenty of Spanish and Mediterranean flavors. That’s because Sheila Lukins (the recipe creator) said she was inspired by Spanish cuisine from her time traveling in the country and northern Africa.

    A large casserole dish of chicken Marbella sist beside some fresh herbs and lemon.

    What to Serve with Chicken Marbella

    The chicken is going to be very tasty, thanks to its marinade with plenty of rich ingredients. This makes it perfect to go along with some plain steamed rice or Mediterranean yellow rice if you want to jazz it up a bit. 

    If you want to make a more well-balanced meal, add a veggie side or two like Catalan roasted vegetables, oven-roasted asparagus, 5-minute tomato salad, or poor man’s potatoes (roasted).

    Is this Recipe Healthy?

    Yes and no. This is a very nutritious meal but it is high in fat, cholesterol, and sugar. A serving comes in at around 393 calories which is pretty standard for oven-baked chicken recipes. 

    Here are the healthy ingredients:

    • Olive oil – Especially extra virgin olive oil is known to be nutritious. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat and prevent certain diseases. Olive oil is the backbone of the Mediterranean diet.  
    • Red wine vinegar – Contains acetic acid and can lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 
    • Prunes – Good for your digestion since they promote regular bowel movements. 
    • Green olives – A good source of vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium. 
    • Herbs – The herbs are popular in Spanish cooking, and contain beneficial phytochemicals like antioxidants.
    • Chicken – Contains many nutrients such as protein, niacin, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12.

    Nutrition Facts

    Servings: 8

    Amount per serving

     

    Calories

    393

    % Daily Value*

    Total Fat 23.5g

    30%

    Saturated Fat 5.6g

    28%

    Cholesterol 98mg

    33%

    Sodium 199mg

    9%

    Total Carbohydrate 17.5g

    6%

    Dietary Fiber 1.3g

    5%

    Total Sugars 13g

     

    Protein 27g

     

    Vitamin D 0mcg

    0%

    Calcium 45mg

    3%

    Iron 2mg

    12%

    Potassium 376mg

    8%

    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    A large casserole dish of chicken Marbella sist beside some fresh herbs and lemon.

    Chicken Marbella

    Byron
    Chicken Marbella is a classic recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Famous for the contrast between the prunes and capers, this chicken recipe is not to be missed!
    5 from 1 vote
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 50 minutes
    refrigerate (minimum) 8 hours
    Total Time 8 hours 55 minutes
    Course dinner, Main Course
    Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
    Servings 6 Main
    Calories 393 kcal

    Equipment

    • large mixing bowl
    • Garlic crusher
    • Plastic wrap
    • Casserole dish or baking tray
    • Tongs or slotted spoon

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
    • 1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives
    • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
    • 3 large bay leaves or 6 small
    • ½-1 head of garlic peeled.
    • 1/8 cup dried oregano
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 5 lb 2.25 kg chicken pieces with skin and bone
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh cilantro finely chopped (for garnish)

    Instructions
     

    Day 1 - Prepare and Marinate Chicken Pieces

    • Add the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix well.
      1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup pitted prunes, 1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives, 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice, 3 large bay leaves, ½-1 head of garlic, 1/8 cup dried oregano, Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Put the chicken in your casserole dish and coat the pieces with the sauce.
      5 lb 2.25 kg chicken pieces with skin and bone
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

    Day 2 - Cook Chicken and Serve

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
    • Remove the chicken from the fridge, sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken pieces, and pour the white wine around them.
      1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • Add the chicken to the oven and baste every 20 minutes with the pan juices, until the chicken is cooked (50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the cuts of chicken and size).
    • Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers directly to plates or a serving platter. Add some of the pan juice to each piece of chicken and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro (or optionally, serve on the side).
      2-3 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh cilantro
    • Pour or spoon the rest of the pan juice into a sauce dish to add as you like.

    Video

    Notes

    Cooking Notes:

    • The original recipe uses ½ a head of garlic for the quantity we made. If you love garlic, like we do, throw a whole head in. You can also cut down on the brown sugar if you want it to be healthier but the sweet and tangy contrast is a flavor sensation. 
    • You can use a whole chicken and cut it into pieces or use chicken breasts, chicken drumsticks, or chicken quarters. You choose!

    Nutrition

    Serving: 250gCalories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 17.5gProtein: 27gFat: 23.5gSaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 199mgPotassium: 376mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 13gCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
    Keyword 1 hours recipe, baked Chicken, Bone-in Chicken, Capers, Casserole, chicken, Chicken Marbella, one-pot, one-pot recipe, Prunes
    A large dish of chicken Marbella topped with cooked dates and fresh chopped parsley.