Recipe: Ina Garten's Chicken Marbella

Recipe: Ina Garten's Chicken Marbella

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Grace Elkus
Oct 24, 2018
(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

Ina Garten isn't just known for making good chicken. She's known for making perfect chicken — you know the one — as well as a lemon and herb chicken so darn delicious, it's rumored to inspire marriage proposals (including Prince Harry's 2017 proposal to Meghan Markle).

So when we got our hands on Ina's new cookbook, Cook Like a Pro, we flipped straight to the index and ran our finger down the page until we came to the letter "C," searching for her latest and greatest chicken recipes. This Chicken Marbella was the first to catch our eye, and it's already dog-eared and oil-stained and on rotation in our kitchens.

Ina Garten's Riff on Classic Chicken Marbella

Ina's new Chicken Marbella recipe is inspired by one from the 1982 Silver Palate Cookbook. Ina writes that after revisiting the recipe, she remembered why it was such a popular '80s party dish: the chicken is marinated with prunes, vinegar, olives, capers, and a shocking amount of garlic (1 1/2 heads!) for a stunning dish famous for its sweet, tangy, briny, garlicky flavor. Ina's version ups the prunes, olives, and garlic and scales back on the brown sugar for just the right balance of flavors.

Having cooked through it myself and served it as the main at my Ina-themed dinner party (a brilliant theme I plan on repeating seasonally), I can confidently say this recipe checks all the boxes of a winning Ina recipe. The recipe itself is straightforward and easy-to-follow: toss the chicken in a marinade (to make it easy on yourself, ask the butcher at the grocery store to cut the chicken and remove the backbone for you), let it sit overnight to soak up all the flavor, and then season generously and roast until cooked through.

The Ina magic lies in the fact that however simple it is to make, the resulting dish feels special, what with the tender, juicy chicken nestled between green olives and sweet prunes, glistening in the warm pan juices.

Ina Garten's Chicken Marbella

Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup

    good olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    good red wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups

    large pitted prunes, such as Sunsweet

  • 1 cup

    large green olives, pitted, such as Cerignola (see tip)

  • 1/2 cup

    capers, including the juices (3 1/2 ounces)

  • 6

    bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 heads

    of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and minced (see tip)

  • 1/4 cup

    dried oregano

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    (4-pound) chickens, backs removed and cut in 8 pieces

  • 1/2 cup

    light brown sugar, lightly packed

  • 1 cup

    dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the marinade. (You can also place the chicken and marinade in a 2-gallon plastic storage bag and squeeze out the air to make sure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade.) Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally to be sure the marinade is getting into all of the chicken pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken, skin side up, along with the marinade in one layer in a large (15 × 18-inch) roasting pan, sprinkle with the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, and pour the wine around (not over!) the chicken. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken is 145 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken, prunes, and olives to a serving platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices.

Recipe Notes

Pro tip: You can’t buy good-quality pitted green olives. I buy whole olives and pit them with a cherry pitter.

Pro tip: To peel a lot of garlic quickly, separate the cloves and blanch them in boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the size of the cloves — the peel slips right off.

Reprinted from Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks. Copyright © 2018 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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