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When it comes to favorite holiday dishes, "Family Dinner" host Andrew Zimmern says this one is at the top of his list. According to him, chicken Marbella first appeared in recipe form in The Silver Palate Cookbook, written by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso in 1982. The combination of chicken braised with prunes, olives, capers, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, white wine and brown sugar might sound odd, but the result is amazing. In fact, the briny-sweet dish became an instant classic and has since been served at countless dinner parties. This is Andrew's adaptation, which includes apricots because he always has them on hand. He loves to serve it with Creamy Root Vegetable Puree and Roasted Cabbage

Pro Tip from Andrew: If I'm cooking for a crowd, and oven space is an issue, I make sure I marinate the chicken overnight, then I brown it in the morning and proceed with the recipe until the part where you slide it in the oven. I refrigerate it at that point so that all I need to do before dinner is slide it into the oven for an hour or so. 

Be sure to catch him on Season 2 of "Family Dinner" streaming on discovery+ and the Magnolia app. 


  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 chickens, quartered
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ cup red vermouth
  • 1 cup dried apricots (Andrew likes the sulfur-free ones)
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • ½ cup pitted green olives (Andrews likes to use Lucques)
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed well
  • 3 fresh bay leaves (dried are fine in a pinch)
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped (reserve a little for garnish)


Serves: 8


In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, oregano, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, coat completely and let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken well on both sides, reserving the marinade. Place the browned pieces skin-side up in a single layer in a big lasagna pan. 

Deglaze the skillet with the wine and vermouth, reducing by about half. Add the reserved marinade, apricots, prunes, olives, capers, bay leaves, ½ cup brown sugar and parsley (except for the garnish). Swirl the ingredients in the liquid until the brown sugar dissolves and bring to a boil again. Pour the mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar. 

Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. 

Place the chicken on a platter and pour all the ingredients in the pan over the top. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley and serve.