Friday, January 28, 2022

Mediterranean Chicken Marbella Traybake

"The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

 This delicious chicken dish is beloved by many of us here in Australia, but was actually created in the Silver Palate food store, which opened on New York's Manhattan Upper West Side 35 years ago. The store was started by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, who cooked fresh each day, embracing a passion for simple good food. That is still the commitment of the Silver Palate Kitchens today. I make this dish quite regularly, and always have the bottled ingredients on hand in my pantry and cellar, just in case. 

This is an uncomplicated recipe, which has you in and out of the kitchen in no time, but brings maximum flavours to your dining table. It is a great recipe for people who either don't have much time to prepare and cook or who don't consider themselves to be great cooks. It is a simple matter of mixing most of the ingredients in a large covered bowl the night before to marinate, and then popping it all with a couple of extra ingredients in the oven the following day or evening 50 minutes before it is to be eaten. We all need uncomplicated recipes like this in our repertoire, which still deliver magnificent flavours. 

This recipe has become famous and a firm favourite with many, standing the test of time because of the distinctive Mediterranean flavours and colours of the prunes, olives and capers. It is very versatile, allowing it to be cooked in the slow cooker, the oven, or eaten as a leftover cold dish, or even as an appetiser. I promise you this is a cinch to make, and never disappoints, however please don't scrimp on the prunes, the olives or the capers and choose a nice white wine to add, and then drink the rest.

This dish reminds me of the famous Aristotle Quotation 2370 years ago: " The whole is greater than the sum of the parts". 

Chicken Marbella


16 chicken thighs or mixed chicken portions,  to feed 8 people,
(Or buy a whole chicken and chop it up into portions, a cheaper option) Approx 1 1/4 kilos or 2 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces (Allow at least two chicken pieces per person.)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup  brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, or ideally use fresh equivalent if you are growing  it
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup good quality dry white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup or 2 tablespoons of good quality red wine vinegar
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup roasted bell peppers drained, and coarsely chopped (this is an optional addition to the original classic recipe)
1/4 cup or 2 tablespoons capers, with a little bit of juice
1/4 cup or 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Marinate the chicken:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, and vinegar. (All the ingredients except the wine and the brown sugar.) Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight to marinate until you are ready to cook.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C. or 350 deg. F.
  3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and spoon the remaining marinade over it evenly.  Pour the white wine over the chicken pieces, and sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting the chicken pieces frequently with the pan juices, until cooked.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Pour over enough pan juices to serve, and sprinkle generously with parsley. Any extra pan juices can be passed around in a sauce boat. Or for serving you can adopt the rustic approach which I quite like, and bring the baking dish straight from the oven to the table and serve from the dish.
  6. Serve with couscous or brown rice or a selection of salad and fresh vegetables.
I am reposting this recipe, with a couple of fresh new photos, as it has been requested by friends. The quantities can be easily adjusted to cater for a couple, a family, or to feed 10 people or more. I have also cooked this one for a Christmas dish and a birthday dish, as the ingredients and presentation place it easily into the celebratory category. How good is that? This dish can also be served cold or taken on a picnic. Cool to room temperature in the cooking juices, before transferring to a serving platter.

Here in Queensland and indeed throughout Australia, tennis players and fans are very excited about the Australian Tennis Open Grand Slam Tournament which has been playing out over the last couple of weeks at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria. Ash Barty, a Queensland girl from Ipswich in our home state, is the first Australian woman in just over 42 years to make it to the Grand Final, being played this Saturday night on Rod Laver Arena. We are all very excitedly looking forward to the Barty Party, and we will certainly be quietly partying here as we watch Ash play. The Men's doubles is also an all Australian Grand Slam Final being played on Saturday, with the Special Ks (Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis) playing the M&M's (Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell.) They will be playing in front of a very excited crowd. Mr. HRK and I attended the Australian Open many years ago, and it was an amazing event, the place to be in January in Australia. We're looking forward to returning there again one day. Meanwhile, the Barty Party is the big ticket item this Saturday for us, and the matches should be televised internationally for all the tennis fans in the Northern Hemisphere. Apparently Netflix have been filming the games as well. Is there a Series coming up? Have a great weekend folks.

Warmest wishes,

Pauline xx


  1. This is my kind of food. So juicy, tender and full of flavours!

  2. Pauline, I will make that recipe in the crockpot soon. Thanks. I really hope Ash wins tonight. She is so unassuming.

    1. Thanks Chel, the tennis was so amazing wasn't it? Such a great win.Let me know how this cooks up in the crockpot. I'm sure it will result in delicious flavours and tender chicken.

  3. This looks wonderful, Pauline, and full of flavors. A proper dinner. Yum.

    1. Amalia this is always popular when I cook it, and I never have to worry about the result. It is the perfect dinner.

  4. The next time I buy chicken pieces I will set 4 aside to make this the following night. Just my kind of meal. Did you watch the men's final? It was really amazing.

  5. Thanks Tandy, I hope you do try this recipe and love the result. Yes the men's doubles was amazing and we are all still amazed that the Special KK's are being so successful.All the finals were very entertaining.

  6. Woow looks fingerlickingly delicious! I love mediterranean cuisine and diet and this recipe is great. Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Bread&Salt. I hope you enjoy this one, we love it.

  7. Great dish -- and one I've actually had (though never made). The Silver Palate cookbooks are great, and were all the rage in the US a couple of decades ago. I definitely need to make this -- yours looks superb. Thanks. And enjoy the Barty Party!

    1. KR, thanks so much, I have the Silver Palate cookbook containing this recipe downloaded on my kindle, but will try to pick up a used copy online one day. I love the books too. We had a fabulous Barty Party because our Ash did win the Australian Open Ladies final, so exciting. Take care.

  8. I am SO making this! It looks sensational and I love that they are skin on chicken thighs! :D

    1. Thanks so much Lorraine, yes most definitely skin on chicken thighs for me. Enhances the dish in every way.

  9. A traybake! The first image that comes to mind is the Great British Baking show, because that's where I learned this word. We don't use it where I'm from. I'm familiar with the concept, though, of course, and who doesn't love a tasty dish that comes together quickly? Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thanks so much Jeff, I first learned this name from British Nigella Lawson, and I have seen the concept named a sheetpan dish from your part of the world, I think. Anyhow, what's in a name, this meal is delicious. All the best.

  10. I've never heard of this dish, but it sounds amazing. Pinned - I have to try this!

    1. Oh Carol, I hope you can try is one of my favourites. Thanks for dropping by.

  11. i do love a traybake! i must remember to marinate overnight in future. i've not done that before.

    1. Thanks Sherry, I think marinating this one overnight really helps to develop the flavours. Thanks for your comment and look after yourself.


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