Chicken Marbella – this boneless chicken thigh recipe is one of those dishes that everyone should have in their collection! This make-ahead classic is perfect for a weeknight but pretty and tasty enough to serve at a dinner party!
Like my Moroccan Chicken, this delicious dish combines chicken and olives but adds a sweeter note in the form of earthy prunes. It’s salty, sweet and a little sour – and utterly delicious!
The Classic Chicken Marbella
I made this dish way back in the late 80’s, after I’d purchased the Silver Palate Cookbook and thought it was wonderful. But food is like fashion, and the Silver Palate Cookbook became buried under newer and flashier cookbooks.
And there it sat.
I recently made this recipe again (with a few tweaks!) and remembered how amazing it is – and just had to share it!
So, What is Chicken Marbella?
The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella pretty much defined cooking in the late 1980’s and is still the number one recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso.
Drawing on the Moroccan tradition of combining meat with fruit and olives (or in this case, prunes, olives and capers. The dish has a sweet/sour and salty flavor that dances across your palate and appeals to just about everyone.
If that wasn’t enough, it’s easy preparation should put this Chicken Marbella recipe on your “must make this week” list!! Seriously. You stir together all the ingredients, add the chicken and let and refrigerate it overnight.
The next day, you pull it out of the fridge, dump it in a casserole and put it in the oven.
Chicken Marbella with Boneless Thighs. Dinner. Done.
Ingredients you will need:
- Chicken – the original recipe called for a whole, cut-up chicken but I prefer to use boneless and skinless thighs.
- Olive Oil – no need to bring out the really expensive bottle here. A nice, evenly balanced olive oil is all you need.
- Red Wine Vinegar – a good red wine vinegar is worth spending a few more pennies for. Lucini is my favorite, but Pompeiian is a great value!
- Prunes – if your prunes have been sitting in your cabinet for a while, treat yourself to a new package for this recipe!
- Pitted Green Olives – you definitely don’t want ones stuffed with pimentos! I used Castelvetrano olives since I love their meaty texture!
- Capers – even though this dish has olives, capers add a little bit of a sharper note to offset the sweetness of the prunes!
- Brown Sugar – I used a light brown sugar . The original recipe calls for more brown sugar – roughly 3 Tablespoons (adjusted). I found that to be too sweet to my taste and so reduced the amount to 1 Tablespoon.
- Seasonings – bay leaves, dried oregano, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper round out the ingredient list.
How to Make this Boneless Chicken Thigh recipe:
- In a large bowl ( I use a large Ziploc bag!) combine the chicken (pricked with a fork), garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves.
- Stir it all together so the chicken is covered by the marinade ingredients. If using a Ziploc bag, just seal the bag and smush it around with your hands!
- Stash it in the refrigerator overnight. No need to stir it – just let it sit!
- Pull it out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you plan to cook it.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Dump the marinated chicken in an 7 x 11 casserole dish. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the baking pan.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken and pour the white wine around the chicken.
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Remove from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a serving platter and spoon the olives, capers, and prunes around the chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
What to serve with Chicken Marbella
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is so flavorful you only need simple sides to complete the menu!
- Vodka Martini – this classic cocktail is the perfect start!
- Stuffed Mushrooms – these lemon and parmesan flavored mushrooms are so simple, so light always are the first appetizer to go!
- Rice Pilaf with Orzo – an easy side for soaking up that sauce!
- Sgroppino – an Italian lemon sorbet, limoncello and prosecco float!
Looking for other Chicken Recipes featuring boneless thighs? You definitely don’t want to miss…
- Chicken Scarpariello – “shoemakers chicken” is a classic combo of chicken thighs, sausage and sweet peppers!
- Moroccan Chicken Stew – warm spices and apricots flavor this simple weeknight favorite!
- Chicken Biryani – the classic reinvented for easy weeknight preparation!
- Chicken Contadina – a rustic, Italian meal of tender and juicy chicken and tomatoes in a luscious white wine, herb and garlic sauce!
If you enjoyed this recipe, I would LOVE for you to give it a 5-star rating! Cheers! Nancy
Chicken Marbella with Boneless Thighs
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives I used Castelvetrano olives
- 1 tablespoon capers drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup minced italian parsley
- Prick the chicken all over with a fork. In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag combine the chicken, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves.
- Seal the bag and squish everything around for a a minute or two to mix all the ingredients.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- To cook:
- Adjust an oven rack to the upper third of the oven.
- Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Transfer the contents of the ziploc bag into a 10 x 7 casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the chicken.
- Pour the white wine around the chicken.
- Bake the chicken for 35 – 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. (165 degrees on a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the thigh).
- Serve the chicken, spooning the sauce and the prunes and olives over the top and garnish with the parsley.
- I tweaked the original recipe to yield more sauce (since it’s sooo good) and significantly decreased the sugar.
- In my oven, the chicken browned nicely when the rack was placed on the upper third of my oven. If your oven is a bit finicky, check the chicken after about 15 minutes. If getting too brown, place the chicken on a lower rack and continue cooking.
- STORAGE: After cooking, Chicken Marbella can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- REHEATING: To reheat chicken marbella, cover the casserole with foil and re heat in a 350 degree oven until heated through.
- FREEZING: Yes, you can freeze it! Just place the chicken and sauce in a freezer safe container, seal and label. To defrost: place in the refrigerator overnight and re heat as instructed above.