Chicken Marbella is a dish that took the 80's food entertaining scene by storm when it made its debut in The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, originally published in 1982. It's a dish that is still relevant and widely made today, thanks in large part to its approachability and finished composition of flavours and textures. Chicken pieces smothered in a marinade of olives, prunes, capers and vinegar and then cooked in the same marinade with additional brown sugar and white wine. It's a wonderful balance of opposing yet complementary flavours, which really up the ante on the everyday roasted chicken recipe. I've made some tweaks to the original recipe, nothing that changes its unflawed foundation. Chili flakes were added for some heat and since I don't particularly like the texture of cooked prunes but appreciate the sweet balance they bring, I have swapped them out for equally sweet apricot preserves to help yield a stickier finished sauce. This chicken dish is as low maintenance as it gets as once all of the ingredients are marinated overnight, it's just a matter of popping it all in the oven to cook the next day. I encourage a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the whole dish to brighten up all of those flavours before serving.
Spicy Apricot Chicken "Marbella" 4 Steps
In a large bowl combine chicken pieces, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, spanish green olives, black sundried olives, apricot jam, olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers and caper juice, dried oregano, chili flakes, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Mix to coat, cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.
Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 400°F, and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in a roasting pan and spread the olives and capers in and around the chicken pieces. Spoon the marinade back onto the chicken pieces evenly and drizzle over the white wine.
Bake in the oven until the skin is browned and the chicken is cooked through, approximately 45-60 minutes. If the chicken is cooked but you prefer browner skin, just broil on high for the last 3-5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter, stir the chopped parsley into the remainder of the ingredients in the pan and then spoon this mixture over each piece of chicken. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.