This dish is one of those dishes that seem like so much effort and time went into them, but that is not the case at all. This the perfect party dish for feeding a crowd. The result of this dish is moist chicken breasts in a marinade that is to die for with juicy plums and salty olives. The combination is just perfect! I could literally drink the marinade. (I know that sounds gross!) But it is just that good. I have refrained so far from doing so. We were having friends over for dinner as a thank you for helping us move into our new apartment in Düsseldorf. (We owe them way more than a dinner!) We might have cut the deadline a bit tight for having all the boxes unpacked, pictures hung on the walls, light fixtures installed and the apartment looking in order in time for hosting a dinner. But we thought hey what better motivation, otherwise it will never get done. I was always (still am) a terrible procrastinator in college and would find myself frantically hacking away at the computer at 4 a.m. trying to finish a lab report for the next day. I swore every time that I would not leave it again so last minute and where did I find myself without a doubt the next Sunday at 4 a.m? Yep frantically hacking away at the computer.
We had the astuteness to know that we would need every last minute up until the guests arrived in order to finish everything in the apartment. (We know ourselves by this point. No sense in trying to deny it.) That meant that dinner needed to be a no fuss, easy to throw together for 10 people meal, but not look like it. Chicken Marbella fits that ticket perfectly. And boy were we right. We were scrambling up until the final minutes before the doorbell rang. After that, it was a fun and laughter filled evening. The apartment definitely feels homier now.
Normally, I enjoy cooking on Saturdays something more complicated and “fancy” that I would not have time during the week to cook. I call it Saturday Gourmet. And usually if we are having friends over for dinner I get even more excited and ambitious to try out something new, but luckily my other half is a very logical thinking (at least most of the time), practical guy and he knew we would be stressing out without so much to do and needed an easy meal. This is a moment where his Germanness shines through. Practicality. The Germans are all about practicality.
I was first introduced to this dish when my German “mom” made it for a dinner party. She is a busy mom of two young boys and a teacher herself, so she is always looking for a fabulous recipe that looks like you slaved hours in the kitchen without actually having to. It is also not nice when hosting a dinner party if you have to spend so much time in the kitchen and cannot socialize and interact with your guests. I cannot recommend Chicken Marbella enough for your next dinner party!
Chicken Marbella Recipe
Makes 6-8 servings
8 chicken breasts (~1 kg / 2.2 lbs)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tbsp dried oregano or a handful of fresh
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar (300 ml)
1 1/4 cups olive oil (300 ml)
2 generous handfuls pitted prunes
3/4 cup pitted green olives (150 g)
1/4 cup capers (more if you like)
10 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups white wine (600 ml)
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
One day before, combine garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves in a bowl. Mix together. In a large baking dish, lay chicken and then pour marinade over chicken and mix to thoroughly coat chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
On the next day, preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Add the brown sugar and white wine to the dish and gently mix. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes. Check until the chicken is cooked through. Be sure not to cook too long as the chicken will dry out.
Goes nicely when served with rosemary oven roasted potatoes.