This dish was made famous by “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso published in 1982. Marbella is a coastal city in Spain, which may lead some to believe the dish is of Spanish origins; however, that is not the case. Chicken Marbella is actually a Jewish-American dish invented on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the late 1970s. This briney-sweet combination of ingredients is to die for. Despite its combination of unique flavours, the actual methodology of making this dish is very easy and is sure to impress. Those who do decide to take on this culinary masterpiece should be aware, olives, capers and prunes are divisive ingredients. Still, in this dish, they are a perfect amalgamation of flavour profiles!
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Chicken Marbella 5 Steps
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange your chicken thighs in a cast-iron skillet. You want to place some of the prunes, olive and caper mixture below your chicken as well as on top of the chicken. Spoon the rest of the marinade over the chicken evenly. Pour in the wine and sprinkle the chicken with the brown sugar. If there is too much liquid, you may discard some but it is okay if the cast iron is packed full.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes (until the chicken thighs are almost done cooking). During the cooking process there may be more juices that escape the chicken, if the cast iron is overflowing, carefully pour some liquid into a saucepan and reserve for later (this sauce is not yet ready for consumption because chicken may not be fully cooked when sauce is poured into pan).
In the last 5 minutes, broil your chicken to get a deeper caramelized brown coating on top. (If your chicken is browned sufficiently during the baking process, broiling may not be necessary).
Transfer the chicken pieces to a warm serving platter and top with the prunes, olives and capers; keep warm. In your saucepan (from step 3) add any additional juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid. Strain into a heatproof bowl, add the parsley and pour over the chicken.