Simply Satisfying: a taste of Spain – Chicken Marbella

ChickenMarbellaIt should really be called “Simply Spectacular.”

My friend Natalia turned me on to this recipe years ago, and it never fails to turn out delicious each time I make it.  While prunes and capers might seem like an odd combination, when cooked together with chicken they create a delectable sweet and sour, savory flavor. The overnight marination is essential to the moistness of the finished product: The chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare. 20140404_135007


The original recipe calls for 2 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on.  Or, you can use an already cut-up chicken assortment of pieces like breast and thighs.

1 head of garlic, pureed

¼ cup dried oregano

Course salt and pepper to taste  ( I like to use kosher salt)

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup extra vigin olive oil

1 cup pitted prunes (I prefer to halve them)

½ cup pitted Spanish green olives

½ cup capers with a bit of juice

6 bay leaves

¾ cup brown sugar

1 cup white wine (if you can’t use wine, then use ½ cup of best quality chicken stock)

Fresh Italian parsley, chopped to taste

Combine Chicken with garlic, salt and pepper and all ingredients except brown sugar, wine and parsley.  Cover, and let marinate overnight to produce the best results.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Arrange chicken in a shallow baking pan in a single layer.  Sprinkle with white wine and brown sugar.

Bake for about an hour, or until juices from chicken run clear (and chicken is not pink).  Baste marinade every so often over chicken.


Tip: if the amount of oil and vinegar seems like too much – remember that amount is for about 5 lbs. so you can adjust it accordingly.  You might want to use the recipe “as is” because the juice is so flavourful and served over rice it works out perfectly.