Chicken Marbella

5 from 2 votes

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Tender and moist Chicken Marbella is cooked in an irresistible sweet and tangy Mediterranean-inspired sauce. This slightly modified chicken marbella recipe is easy to make and is sure to add some interest to your next family dinner! 

side view of a round white plate with chicken marbella recipe with dates and olives around
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Chicken Marbella is one of my favorite go-to dishes to make for parties or big gatherings! This special recipe is designed to serve a crowd and is always a big hit. The delightful blend of sweet and tangy ingredients leaves my house smelling amazing!

The chicken is perfectly cooked with a coating of sweet marinade, and is an elegant looking dish, but it’s so easy to make. As long as you make sure to buy a few unique ingredients, you can throw this meal together in no time!

round white plate with chicken marbella recipe with dates and olives around

What is Chicken Marbella?

Chicken marbella is a dish that comes from a famous cookbook called “The Silver Palate Cookbook” written by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso in the late 1980s. This hearty entrée features juicy chicken baked in a sweet, salty, and savory marinade. It features unique ingredients such as capers, manzanilla olives, and prunes that come together to make an elegant and flavorful dish! The resulting chicken is tender, sweet, and tangy. Chicken marbella is an uncommon, but underrated dish that is perfect to serve at a holiday get-togethers and Sunday dinner parties.

top view of portion dishes of raw ingredients over chicken marbella

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs—Boneless and skinless.
  • Chicken Broth—Acts as a simple base for the marinade. 
  • Brown Sugar—You won’t need much sugar to add a delicate, sweet flavor to this dish!
  • Prunes—These pitted and dried plums add a deep, earthy sweetness that complements the salty meatiness of the chicken.
  • Manzanilla Olives with Pimento—Add a bright, vinegary tang.
  • Capers—The brininess of these pickled flower buds cuts nicely through the sweetness of the prunes and brown sugar 
  • Olive oil—Helps to tie all the other Mediterranean flavors together.
  • Water—Thins out the marinade.
  • Spices—A savory blend of oregano and garlic powder.

How to Make Chicken Marbella

four breasts in a square casserole dish with chicken Marbella recipe inside
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken broth, brown sugar, prunes, manzanilla olives, capers, olive oil, water, oregano, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in a high-sided baking dish and pour the chicken broth mixture over the top. 
four breasts in a square casserole dish with chicken Marbella recipe inside

3. Bake until the chicken is cooked all the way through and no longer pink in the middle.

four breasts in a sautéed pan with chicken Marbella recipe inside

4. Move the chicken to a plate and pour the liquid from the dish into a frying pan. Simmer the liquid until it has reduced into a runny sauce.

top view of a round white plate with chicken marbella recipe with dates and olives around

5. Add the chicken to the pan and baste it with the sauce a few times. Serve and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called chicken marbella?

Although the name does hint to Spanish origins, chicken marbella was actually created in New York City. The inventors of the dish decided to name this chicken delicacy after the coastal town of Marbella near the southern tip of Spain. This is because the dish features Mediterranean flavors and ingredients that are popular in that part of the world.

What kind of wine goes with chicken marbella?

The original chicken marbella recipe calls for red or white wine to be added to the broth mixture that the chicken is cooked in. My version, as you may have noticed, doesn’t include any alcohol—I did this to cut down on cost and make the dish more family-friendly. However, if you’re a fan of wine, you can add some to the marinade in place of the water. Or simply enjoy the finished dish with a glass of wine! Some good options would be Chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, or merlot. 

What Should I Serve with Chicken Marbella?

When it comes to plating up this chicken marbella, it is wise to serve it alongside side dishes that will soak up and complement the sweet, tangy, and salty sauce. I typically serve this baked chicken with brown or white rice, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles. This dish also goes well with most vegetables! You can try pairing it with green beans, lemon-roasted asparagus, broccoli, or a simple spinach salad. 

four breasts in a sautéed pan with chicken Marbella recipe inside

Expert Tips

  • If you have fresh oregano or garlic, you can use that instead of the dried spices. It will help intensify the flavors in this dish.
  • Cooking your chicken at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will help keep the meat tender and prevent too much of the moisture from evaporating. 
  • You can find pitted prunes near the nuts and other dried fruit at your local grocery store.
  • If you do not have chicken thighs, you can use boneless chicken breasts, but they tend to dry out faster. You may need to adjust your cooking time to ensure that they stay tender and moist!
four breasts in a sautéed pan with chicken Marbella recipe inside

How to Store Leftover Chicken Marbella

If you have any homemade chicken marbella left over, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply reheat the chicken in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes when you are ready to eat it again. To prevent any splatter, place your chicken and sauce in a bowl and cover it with a paper plate or napkin when reheating! 

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

side view of a round white plate with chicken marbella recipe with dates and olives around
5 from 2 votes

Chicken Marbella

Tender and moist Chicken Marbella is cooked in an irresistible sweet and tangy Mediterranean-inspired sauce.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 cups manzanilla olives with pimento
  • ½ cup capers

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together everything but the chicken. Place your chicken in an 8×8 inch baking dish and pour the combined mixture over the top.
  • Bake your chicken for 55 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Move the chicken to a plate and pour the liquid from the pan into a medium sized pan. Simmer the liquid for 10-15 minutes or until it has reduced into a runny sauce.
  • Add the chicken to the pan and baste it with the sauce a few times.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • This Mediterranean inspired dish is full of a wide array of flavors. The capers and olives add a vinegary tang that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the prunes and brown sugar.
  • Cooking your chicken at a lower temperature for a longer period of time keeps the chicken soft and tender and prevents too much of the moisture from evaporating like it would in a high temp oven.
  • You can store your leftover chicken Marbella in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can reheat your chicken in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes. I find it easiest to reheat the chicken and sauce in a bowl covered with a paper plate or napkin to prevent any splatter.
  • You can find pitted prunes near the nuts and other dried fruit at your local grocery store.
  • If you have fresh garlic, you can replace the garlic powder.
  • You can serve this dish on its own or serve it over white, brown, or basmati rice to add some more carbs to the dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 Chicken Marbella, Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 1249mg, Potassium: 393mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 520IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 79mg, Iron: 2mg
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