Home to many of today’s rich and famous, Marbella (pronounced mar-bay-ah) is located in the south of Spain between Malaga and Gibraltar. In the middle of the twentieth century, American film stars discovered its gorgeous beaches and marvelous climate. The wealthy Saudis and European aristocrats followed shortly thereafter.
Well, I Can Dream Can’t I?
Today it’s a resort town packed with out-of-sight mansions, luxury boats, and upscale automobiles. The streets are lined with designer shops and great restaurants. It has a pulsating night life, and it’s very upscale and high dollar. I soon realized that Marbella is yet one more location where I apparently won’t ever be able to afford to establish a residence or even to visit.
In my research I also found that our featured dish didn’t originate from Marbella at all. It did, however, serve as the inspiration for Chicken Marbella. It‘s actually a Jewish-American dish invented on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (where it’s pronounced mar-bella). It’s one of the featured dishes in The Silver Palate Cookbook. For a more complete history, look up The Fascinating Tale Of The Chicken Marbella Recipe online.
The Perfect Dish If You Are Entertaining
The list of the recipe’s ingredients certainly suggests that this is a Mediterranean dish. The first time I read the recipe I wondered what kind of taste would result from this combination of prunes, olives, capers, garlic, and brown sugar. Well, I was very surprised. It was absolutely delightful. It tasted briny, sweet, and tangy with a subtle hint of the component spices coming through in each bite.
Not only was this a delicious dish, but it was also entertaining friendly. Most of the work was done the day before. The pieces of chicken were marinated overnight, and then about 90 minutes before the target time , it was assembled and cooked. When finished it was taken right from the oven and plated. As a result, we were able to enjoy our guests as it was cooking.
6 lb.Chicken pieces assorted
6 clovesGarlic finely chopped
3 TbspOregano dried
Salt and papperTo taste
3/8 cupVinegar red wine
3/4 cupPrunes pitted
12 largeOlives Spanish green pitted
3/8 cupCapers with a bit of juice
3/4 cupSugar brown
3/4 cupWine (Chardonnay recommmended)
3 TbspItalian parsley or cilantro finely chopped
The day before in a medium aluminum mixing bowl combine chicken pieces (keep bone and skin intact), garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Enter Target Time _______________
Time: __________ (90 minutes prior to target time)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in 4½-quart casserole, and spoon marinade over it evenly.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them. Important: top half of chicken pieces should be exposed so proper browning occurs.
Bake for approximately 75 minutes, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice and the temperature is between 165 and 175 degrees.
With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro.
Pass remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.
Note: Silver Palate Recipe
Note: Buttered small red potatoes and steamed broccoli are good sides.