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Chicken Marbella

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Carb/Paleo
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Why we love it:

Chicken Marbella is a classic dish from the Silver Palate Cookbook first published in 1982. I saw one description of it as “classic boomer cuisine,” which is excellently amusing. I think it’s a really great combination of ingredients and I’ve taken a few riffs on it to make it faster here, but it still packs lots of big flavor. It can marinate overnight or longer but it's very quick to pull together and elegant enough for a celebration.


  • 112 pounds Chicken Thighs, Boneless/Skinless
  • 12 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup Prunes (pitted)
  • 1 cup Green Olives, Pitted
  • 12 cup Capers
  • 2 Bay Leafs (optional)
  • 14 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 bunch Fresh Oregano (leaves)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 head Garlic
  • 14 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 3 cups Arugula

Cooking Instructions


    Place the chicken in a large glass baking dish in one layer. Over top, evenly distribute the vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, and bay leaves. Drizzle most of the olive oil over top - reserve about 1 Tablespoon for the potatoes. Add 4 - 5 whole sprigs of oregano leaves, you can leave them on the center woody stem. Sprinkle with about 1 ½ teaspoon of salt and all of the black pepper. Gently move the pieces around to stir it a bit but nestle everything back into an even layer. Slice the head of garlic in ½ so you can see all of the cloves sliced. Break it apart a bit with your hands and place in with the chicken and marinade.

    If you can, leave this in the fridge, covered, overnight and for up to 48 hours.
    If you’re cooking it today, that is ok just proceed straight though.


    Remove chicken from the fridge while the oven heats up. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with the brown sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 - 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. If you pull the edge with a fork, it will gently shred.


    Meanwhile, wash the potatoes and dice them into ½” cubes. Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon) and salt (about ½ teaspoon). Toss to coat and roast in the bottom of the oven for about 25 minutes or until tender and golden brown. You can toss them once during cooking to evenly brown.

  • 4. SERVING

    Divide the arugula among plates and top with the chicken. Spoon the sauce and olives, prunes, capers over top. The hot juices will wilt the arugula and flavor it like a vinaigrette, you can encourage that, or avoid it based on how you spoon it over. Serve potatoes on the side.

    Leftovers are particularly delicious.

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    chicken breast will be ok but don’t skip the overnight marinade and bake for less time
    dried plums are called prunes. The latter has a bad rap, so call them plums! You could use apricots instead or omit them
    omit if you dislike
    omit if you dislike
    if you’re avoiding sugar, you could use honey or maple syrup (just a drizzle) or omit it. You could also just reduce the sugar, especially if you’re using the dried plums which are sweet, it should balance. The final dish will be tangier but still good without sugar
    add about 1 Tablespoon dried oregano over top to marinate

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • you could roast a little plain chicken on the side and give some plums and olives to taste and nibble on. If potatoes aren’t a hit, you could swap out rice or pasta for everyone’s side dish. If needed, serve with broccoli or a green that you can get them to have a portion of

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

Marinate the chicken for 24-48 hours

Rate this recipe:
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