How To Cook Chicken Marbella for A Big Crowd
This recipe uses boneless chicken thighs but includes instructions for classic bone-in Chicken Marbella if you prefer it that way. When I decided to serve Chicken Marbella at my New Years Eve party (dinner for 100) I adapted the recipe for boneless chicken because I think boneless chicken is more elegant and easier to manage for a big party.
Bone-in chicken is fine for a small sit-down dinner but for a buffet it can be clunky and it takes up a lot of room on a serving platter. Plus, it's tricky to cut chicken off the bone while you're socializing at a party, and especially challenging if you're balancing your plate on your lap or standing at a cocktail table while doing it.
In my mind there's no debate about whether to use thighs or breasts. Chicken thighs are my favorite. They're so much better and juicier than breasts, which dry out easily, while thighs are difficult to overcook. The original Silver Palate Chicken Marbella Recipe calls for 4 whole chickens, cut into quarters. I've been served Chicken Marbella that way for decades and I've cooked it that way myself, but I have to confess that I've always passed over the breasts and gone right for the thighs.
The Story Behind Chicken Marbella
How To Make Chicken Marbella
- Marinate The Chicken Overnight: Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl: ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup red wine vinegar, 1 ½ cups pitted prunes, ¾ cup pitted Spanish green olives, ½ cup capers, 6 bay leaves, 1 whole head of garlic, peeled and puréed (I use this garlic press), ¼ cup dried oregano, 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it overnight.
- Bake: Arrange the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in two large shallow baking pans. Pour ½ cup of wine into each baking pan and sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with the brown sugar. Bake the chicken for 45-50 minutes, until it's cooked through, basting once or twice with the pan juices.
- To serve, arrange the chicken on a serving platter and spoon the prunes, olives, capers and some of the juices evenly around. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve the extra sauce on the side.
What to serve with Chicken Marbella
- Latkes. For Hanukkah dinner we always serve Chicken Marbella with potato latkes
- Potatoes: Mashed Potatoes, Smashed Potatoes or roasted potatoes are all great with Chicken Marbella
- Rice: Plain white rice is a perfect accompaniment
- Salad: This green salad or this tricolore salad
- A Green Vegetable: Instead of a salad, serve steamed or roasted broccoli, asparagus or green beans on the side
Here's the Chicken Marbella Recipe. If you try this, I hope you'l come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print