Tastes of the Old Country Here

Chicken Marbella, A Contemporary American Classic

Sometimes, it’s just nice to have the girls over for dinner and copious amounts of vino.  This dish is just perfect for that. Can prep ahead.  If you don’t have oregano, use rosemary, thyme, whatever’s your spice rack holds.

Little rice or couscous and a salad and you’re set to go.  This dish is also great cold.

 Brief History of The Silver Palate CookbookBy Sheila Lukins, Co-Author of The Silver Palate Cookbook (25th Anniversary Edition)

Twenty five years ago seems like the distant past but we still make ratatouille the same way and who would have ever dreamed that so many people would say to us, “I had Chicken Marbella at a dinner party last week and I just loved it.” It took slight madness to open our little store in 1977. Florence Fabricant was writing an article on the renaissance of Columbus Avenue, where our shop was opening, we needed a name, she was on a deadline and called and said, “What are you calling your store?” We didn’t know. “Why don’t you call it The Silver Palate,” she said. We loved it. It took sheer bravery in 1982 to write our book–who would need to buy food in our store any longer once they had all of our recipes? But that never happened for one hour. In fact, it helped us go national even further. Here we are, 25 years later, celebrating with a brand new edition of our book that finally highlights our recipes with vibrant color photographs. I once picked up the phone and someone on the other end said, “Sheila, I just baked the Decadent Chocolate Cake and my cake doesn’t look like the drawing.” I didn’t know how to reply. I assured them the taste made up for the looks. It’s bittersweet, but those problems are solved forever. While different, the color adds an exciting new dimension to the cookbook that has been a treasure to so many cooks for two and a half decades. Julee and I had a fantasy food partnership and the publication of this book has given us the opportunity to spend some wonderful time together.

The concept of our shop that led to all the recipes in the Silver Palate Cookbook was initially the best of everything; cheeses, breads, shelf goods, and a repertoire of good simple home cooking with bold flavors which Julee and I both loved. With more women in the workplace, we stayed open late and both women and men could pick up anything from full meals to dinner parties on their way home from work. Products came next. Reviews were fun to read, and in 1981, an editor from Workman suggested we do an outline based on our newsletter we had been doing in our store. Three weeks later we began doing an outline.

Julee would write it, I would illustrate it and it would have in it all the delicious recipes we cooked for our store. While we had very modest expectations, soon every young person was cooking from and having a great time in the kitchen with The Silver Palate Cookbook.

The book has been published all over the world: France, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, and England. It is in the James Beard Hall of Fame, and most importantly, in so many wonderful kitchens all over. We’re thrilled that so many people have enjoyed our food and our book and hope you will continue to do so even more in living color.

Julee Rosso Miller co-authored the Silver Palate in 1979, and wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982, followed by The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook. She also wrote Great Good Food and Fresh Start, and with her husband runs the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan. Sheila Lukins co-authored the Silver Palate in 1979, and co-wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982, followed by The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook. Sheila Lukins is also the author of All Around the World Cookbook, USA Cookbook, and Celebrate. She is the long standing food editor of Parade magazine.



4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered OR 5 lbs of boneless-skinless chicken breast
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed (Can adjust to garlic sensitivities, I say the more the merrier)
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

2 Responses to “Chicken Marbella, A Contemporary American Classic”

  1. Bridget

    I love this dish! It’s super easy, I always have most of the ingredients on hand, and everyone loves it. I don’t like dark meat or bones, so I substitute chicken breasts and it comes out great!



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