Chicken Marbella

One of the recipes in The Silver Palate Cookbook published in 1981 was for Chicken Marbella, which was apparently the most popular dish at the Silver Palate. It ended up becoming a Shabbat dinner and Passover Seder staple throughout America.  While that may seem odd, it actually makes a good bit of sense. There’s a strong tradition of pairing fruit and meat in Jewish culinary history, and as a Jew Sheila Lukins was a part of this tradition.  Here is my riff on that recipe for a large group of people.

  • 4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), cut up
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish olives
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup of good white wine

Marinate chicken with all but last three ingredients in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange in a single layer.  Sprinkle brown sugar, pour white wine around and bake for 50-60 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a platter.  Moisten with a few tablespoons of pan juices.  Sprinkle parsley over top.  Reduce pan juices and use as a gravy.

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