The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella

 by Cindi SutterFounder & Editor of The Spirited Table® Christine Muhlke - NYT Cooking

If there’s such a thing as boomer cuisine, it can be found in the pages of “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. With its chirpy tone and “Moosewood”-in-the-city illustrations, the book, published in time for Mother’s Day in 1982, gave millions of home cooks who hadn’t mastered the art of French cooking the courage to try sophisticated dishes like escabeche, wild mushroom soup and that new thing called pesto. This recipe, also in the book, came to The Times in a 2007 article celebrating the 25th anniversary edition. The briny-sweet combination once seemed as risky (capers! prunes!) as the East Village, but now it's considered as classic as Grand Central.

Featured in: The Way We Eat; Book Of Revelations

Yield 6 to 8 servings


½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
½ cup capers, with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, peeled and puréed
½ cup fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/4 cup dried oregano
2 tsp of salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 chickens, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds each, quartered
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan; spoon the marinade over it evenly. Pour in the wine and sprinkle the chicken with the brown sugar.
  3. Bake until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow juice when pricked with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes, basting two or three times with the pan juices once the chicken begins to brown. (When basting, do not brush off the sugar. If the chicken browns too quickly, cover lightly with foil.)
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warm serving platter and top with the prunes, olives and capers; keep warm. Place the roasting pan over medium heat and bring the pan juices to a boil. Reduce to about 1/2 cup. Strain into a heatproof bowl, add the parsley and pour over the chicken.