Chicken Marbella

by Julia Robarts on January 25, 2013

in General

Chicken Marbella -- Juggling With Julia

This dish has it all. If it were a western, it’d be titled The Sweet. The Salty. The Tangy.  If it were a piece of art, its caption would read “Plums and Olives Dancing Lightly on a Chicken’s Breast.”  Some call it marbella, others mirabella. But nobody calls it late for dinner (har har har).

I’ve had this combo of chicken, olives, and dried plums once before and absolutely loved it, so it was high time I made it for the family. It helps that I love dried plums (alright – prunes. don’t judge). And olives. And chicken! And dishes with a delicious sauce to drizzled all over everything. And the combo of salty and sweet on my tongue. And…

Chicken Marbella -- Juggling With Julia

Success! And it’s so pretty, isn’t it? My husband and I both loved it, and helped ourselves to seconds. The kids like it too, but they are funny. One was tossing his olives back into the serving pan while another grabbed for more sauce. I spotted some quizzical looks while they tried to figure out from what food group the purple thing (a plum) originated. I’m not even sure what they thought of the capers. Nonetheless, all polished off their chicken in no time, and that works for this momma.

I used boneless chicken breasts here, which allows the dish to cook up in just 30 minutes. I’d bet that boneless chicken thighs would work very nicely. If you use bone-in chicken pieces, increase the cooking time to 45-60 minutes. I would definitely recommend marinating these overnight if possible; I only did it for 4 hours and the flavors were just beginning to infuse into the meat.

Recipe and directions below, along with information on prep and cooking time, something I will begin including in each recipe. Thank you, Rob, for the great suggestion! Watch out, Food Network 🙂

Chicken Marbella
adapted from
Serves 5-6

Prep time: 15 minutes  Marinating time: 12-24 hours  Cooking Time: 30 minutes

3 cloves garlic, mincedChicken Marbella -- Juggling With Julia
1/3 cup dried plums (aka prunes), halved
8 pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, with liquid
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dry white wine


1) If desired, flatten the chicken breasts to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Place chicken shallow 10×15 inch dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, dried plums, olives, capers, olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Occasionally move the chicken around in the dish to ensure it all marinates evenly.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkled the brown sugar over the chicken, then pour the wine over the top. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Serve with extra sauce spooned over the top.

Chicken Marbella -- Juggling With Julia


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina January 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

One of my favorite dishes & my go to dinner for company since you can make it a day ahead & then throw it in the oven.


Juggling With Julia January 25, 2013 at 7:54 am

Yes! Definitely a day-ahead dish, as I discovered. Love the flavors.


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