Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken Marbella Revisited

I enjoy Cook's Illustrated. It's one of two publications put out by America's Test Kitchen.  Located just outside of Boston, ATK employs more than three dozen test cooks, editors and cookware specialists. They test recipes over and over until they establish how and why they work. They also strive to come up with the very best version. I especially enjoy their review on kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients. Their Chicken Marbella update is lip smacking good. I highly recommend it!

I was first introduced to Chicken Marbella by a client when I was running my personal chef gig. Great flavours. Perfect for a dinner party. Don't let the long list of ingredients deter you. It's so worthwhile. Serve it on basmati rice. Freeze the leftovers!

Chicken Marbella
Serves 4 -6

Any combination of split breasts and leg quarters can be used in this recipe.

1/2 cup pitted green olives, rinsed
1/3 cup pitted prunes
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbs capers, rinsed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes

21/2 - 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on (or off whatever your preference) split chicken breasts and/or leg quarters, trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and halved
1 tbs capers, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup pitted prunes, chopped coarse
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbs minced fresh parsley

Oven rack at middle position, heat at 400 degrees. Paste: pulsee all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Can be prepped ahead the day before.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet until just smoking. Place chicken skin down and brown 5 - 8 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add 1/3 cup of paste to skillet and cook 3 - 4 minutes until a fond forms at the bottom of the pan. Stir in broth, wine, olives, capers and bay leaves scraping the good brown bits. Return chicken to pan skin side up (skin s/b above liquid) and roast uncovered in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread rest of paste over chicken pieces. Sprinkle prunes around chicken. Continue to roast until breasts register 160 degrees and legs 175.

Transfer chicken to platter and foil loosely. Remove bay leaves from sauce. Whisk in butter, vinegar, and 1 tbs parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce around chicken. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.


  1. That is the kind of recipe I like. Easy to follow and delicious to eat.

  2. My girlfriend gave me this recipe, years ago, after taking a Bonnie Sterns cooking course. Last time I made it must have been over 10 years ago, so I think it's time for me to revisit as well. Great recipe.

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  4. As you recommended, I served it for a dinner party, but I bought chicken leg quarters and they were huge but impossible to neatly split, so fortunately this was only a dinner party of four :) Any more leg quarters would not have fit in the skillet - lol. Anyway, I wanted to vouch that this recipe was DELICIOUS and highly recommended!