Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

Marbella PlatedThough taken from the name of a town in Spain, Marbella is actually an American made recipe based off of the flavors of that region. All the rage among the shoulder pad clad who’s-who of the 80’s, chicken marbella was the creative genus of Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, proprietors of the very trendy Silver Palate in Upper West Side, New York. One of the first main dishes to be served, it gained national fame when they published the recipe in their first cookbook. Because of this you will find that nearly every single recipe for chicken marbella on the internet is exactly the same. Even for my own rendition I have only changed a few things. The original recipe was created as a way to reflect the melding of the Moorish influence into the Spanish culture. The olives represented Spain, while the capers Morocco. In keeping with this I simply added some preserved lemons and a few chopped figs… mostly because our family likes them.

Created as an easy and sophisticated dish to present to a group, there is very little work involved. Put the marinade together, bake the chicken, and perhaps baste it once in a while. Even a child could do that.

Chicken Marbella

By: Semiserious Chefs
Serves: 4-6


  • 6 chicken thighs
    • OR boneless skinless breasts
  • 1 head of garlic (~12 cloves), crushed
  • 1/4 cup oregano
  • 2 t ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup green olives, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup capers and 2 T caper juice
  • 6 dried figs, cut into 6ths
  • 1/4 cup preserved lemons, chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • honey to drizzle
  • 1 cup sherry cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley to garnish


  1. Create the marinade by mixing together the garlic, oregano, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, green olives, capers and juice, figs, preserved lemons, and bay in either a bowl or a ziplock bag, and add the chicken pieces. Let marinade for 1 hour to over-night.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 °F. Place the marinade and chicken in a small roasting pan. Pour in the sherry and drizzle the skin-up sides with honey. Let bake for 50-60 minutes, basting periodically, until the chicken is fully cooked.
  3. Serve both the chicken and sauce with crunchy bread to sop up juices, and/or over rice or pasta of choice.

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