Notes on Chicken Marbella

pots n pans

I made Chicken Marbella last night, in tribute to Sheila Lukins of Silver Palate fame, who died on Aug. 30. Here’s the NYT obituary.

My copy of the Silver Palate cookbook is 25 years old and dog-eared….but somehow I’d never made Chicken Marbella, its most famous dish.

Sheila Lukins did all the drawings in the cookbook, originally published in 1979

Sheila Lukins did all the drawings in the cookbook, originally published in 1979

The recipe calls for FOUR whole chickens!

I only made about a quarter of the recipe, and used skinless chicken thighs. You marinate the chicken overnight and cook the next day.

The unusual flavor comes from the sweet-salty combo of prunes, green olives, brown sugar and capers. I’m sure it is derived from Spanish Arabic cooking, because many Middle Eastern dishes use dried fruit or other sweet flavors with meat.

I served it with bulghur (cooked with some sauteed onions and beet greens) and there was extra sauce from the Chicken Marbella to pour over it.

It was delicious.

Recently I was visiting my friend Cathy when her daughter, Lily, sent her a text, asking for the Chicken Marbella recipe so she could make it for a dinner party. Cathy texted back the ingredients on her iPhone. Evidence that the Silver Palate Cookbook has staying power into the 21st century.


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1 Comment

Filed under fall, fruit, musings, Praise for other cooks, supper time, Uncategorized

One response to “Notes on Chicken Marbella

  1. Cathy Mihalk

    20 years is a long time to be making Chicken Marbella and yet each time it holds it’s place both in pleasing the palate and being part of any celebration. I can’t remember the first time I made it but I think my friend Eva was always a little ahead of me in trying new dishes and seeing what new chefs had to offer the public. As I’ve gotten older my desire to experiment with new foods is less and I’m content with old standbys. Chicken Marbella is one of them thanks to Sheila Lukins. Even in the kitchen one can make a difference. I guess Sheila knew that.

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