Modern Chicken Marbella

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 6

This was the party dish par excellence in the 70’s. It came to fame after popping up in the The Silver Palate Cookbook and subsequently at the most fashionable dinner parties. Surprising because the chicken had to be marinated, the skin turned flabby under heavy sauce and by today’s standards it was sticky sweet. Fact is – it was all the flavor bursting capers, olives and wine that propelled it up the popularity scale. So for a new generation, we’ve done a revamp starring the best of the original, but needing a fraction of the prep and resulting in a bolder seductive taste. Fortunately it is a make ahead two stepper. First you stir chicken with a bunch of ingredients, only one of which needs a smidgen of cutting, then you leave overnight. Come party time, add vibrant red peppers, turn into a dish and bake. Now that’s an easy party dish.


6 skinless chicken breasts
12 skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp (15 mL) anchovy paste
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) sherry
2 tbsp (30 mL) capers
1 tbsp (15 mL) caper juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) oregano, dried
1 tbsp (15 mL) hot red chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup (125 mL) green olives, pitted
1/2 cup (125 mL) prunes, coarsely chopped, pitted
1/4 cup (60 mL) sun-dried tomatoes in oil
4 bay leaves
2 red pepper(s), coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) basil, fresh, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) italian parsley, fresh, chopped


1 Trim fat from chicken. If using breasts, slice in half or thirds. Place in a large resealable bag. Place bag in a big bowl. Place anchovy paste in another bowl. Add oil and vinegar and use a wooden spoon to mash paste until evenly blended. Stir in sherry, capers and juice, garlic, oregano and chili flakes. Add olives and prunes. Coarsely chop tomatoes and add along with oil from tomatoes. Break bay leaves in half and add.
2 Pour over chicken in the bag. Massage bag until chicken is evenly coated. Seal bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
3 To bake, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Arrange chicken in a 9x13 inch (3 L) baking dish. Stir peppers into the marinating mixture, then pour over chicken. Lay a large piece of foil overtop but do not seal to the dish. Bake, uncovered, until chicken feels springy from 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). During this time baste juices and olive mixture from the pan overtop the chicken every 15 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with the basil. Excellent over rice or broad pasta.