The classic chicken marbella recipe gets a lighter spin in this Braised Chicken with Olives, Capers and Prunes. Chicken is browned to perfection and then braised in the oven with olives, capers, prunes and garlic. A tangy sweet vinegar and honey sauce pulls it all together and the slices of orange infuse their flavor into every bite!
The Classic Chicken Marbella Recipe
The classic chicken marbella recipe is said by some to be the finest recipe to come out of The Silver Palate Cookbook in the 1980’s. Everyone was making it – and with good reason.
The chicken was first marinated overnight with olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, orange juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper. The next day it was baked, along with the marinade and a cup of brown sugar and white wine!
It’s a great recipe. The chicken tastes amazing. However, I always paused a little at that cup of brown sugar. So, when I saw this lightened up version from Cooking Light, I knew I just had to try it!
Ingredients in this Lighter Chicken Marbella:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- White Wine Vinegar – can use champagne vinegar or a citrus vinegar.
- Oregano – fresh, can substitute a teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Bone-in thighs or leg quarters – skin removed. You want to use bone in to keep the chicken moist and flavorful.
- Black Pepper.
- White Wine – use a bottle that you would drink, do not use “cooking wine.”
- Bay Leaves.
- Castelvetrano Olives – these are a meaty green olive. Can substitute other table olives.
How to Make Braised Chicken with Olives, Capers and Prunes
Preheat the oven.
While the oven is preheating, whisk together the ingredients for the braising liquid – 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, capers, oregano, honey and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Set the sauce aside, while you brown the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan (a dutch oven or a braising pan) over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on what would be the skin side for about 6 minutes or until it is well browned.
You may need to brown the chicken in batches, you don’t want to crowd the chicken. As you brown the chicken, remove it to a platter.
When all of the chicken is browned, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring it. Add the wine and the bay leaves and cook for about 4 minutes or until it’s reduced by about half.
Add the olives and the prunes and nestle the chicken back into the pan. Pour the sauce (the vinegar mixture) over the top and nestle in the orange slices.
Cover and bake for 40-45 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and serve with fresh ground black pepper.
Love this Braised Chicken Recipe!
We absolutely loved this braised chicken! A much lighter version, with still loads of flavor! The chicken is so tender and flavorful. The prunes get even sweeter and the tart olives and orange slices balance it all out.
More Easy Braised Chicken Recipes:
The braised chicken thighs are an easy one pan meal that is loved by kids and adults, with grapes and wild rice!
If you haven’t braised chicken with buttermilk, then you need to do it now!! The chicken is crazy tender and has a gorgeous color!
Braised Chicken with Olives, Capers and Prunes
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons capers drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 bone-in thighs or 4 whole leg quarters, skin removed
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 24 Castelvetrano olives pitted
- 1 cup prunes
- 1 orange cut into 1/2 inch slices
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the olive oil, vinegar, capers, oregano, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven or braising pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken meaty side down for about 6-7 minutes or until well browned. Don't crowd the pan, work in batches if you need to. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until browned.
- Add the wine and bay leaves and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the olives and the prunes and nestle the chicken back into the pan. Pour the vinegar mixture over the top and tuck in the orange slices.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes (45 if using whole chicken legs.) Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper to serve.
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This was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for 2019.