Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella is one of my favorite dishes for entertaining! It’s gluten-free and dairy-free, and I have yet to meet a guest who doesn’t love it or isn’t delighted by the newly discovered pairing of flavors. The unusual briny-sweet combination of capers and prunes may seem risky but trust me, and decades of Marbella enthusiasts, “winner-winner chicken dinner.”


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups large pitted prunes, such as Sunsweet
  • 1 cup large green olives, pitted, such as Cerignola
  • 1/2 cup capers, including the juices (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 heads of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and minced
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1215 Chicken Thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio


  1. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt, and teaspoons of pepper. Add the chicken to the marinade. (You can also place the chicken and marinade in a 2-gallon plastic storage bag and squeeze out the air to ensure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade.) Refrigerate overnight, occasionally turning to be sure the marinade is getting into all of the chicken pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place the chicken, skin side up, and the marinade in one layer in a large (15 × 18-inch) roasting pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, and pour the wine around (not over!) the chicken. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken is 145 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken, prunes, and olives to a serving platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices.


Feel free to get creative and try dates or apricots instead of prunes! I love skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe. They become more tender and flavorful as they cook, the skin browns and gets a bit crispy, and it won’t dry out if you get distracted with your guests. It does require some planning, but it makes hosting dinner a breeze. I marinate the chicken up to two days in advance.

Keywords: Marbella, Chicken, Dinner Dinner Party, Make Ahead

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