Life’s a Feast: ’80s style chicken

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella – this famous dish that hails from the ’80s, first debuted in Julee Rosso’s Silver Palate Cookbook. The recipe below is adapted from this delicious ’80s creation. The dish is a magical balance of sweet, salty and sour. The marinade process results in an unfailingly tender and juicy chicken. The magnificent deep-purple prunes, contrasted with the green of the capers and olives, set this dish apart from others. Enjoy this delectable ’80s icon.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 1hr 45 mins

Serves: 5 people



10 free-range chicken thighs, bone in

150g prunes

3 tablespoons oregano

cup of capers

2 tablespoons caper juice

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

cup stuffed green olives

6 bay leaves

cup red wine vinegar

cup brown sugar

1 cup white wine

Saffron Rice

1 onion, finely diced

Good pinch of saffron threads

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups long-grain rice


1.Place all ingredients (aside from the white wine and brown sugar), including the chicken, into a bowl and combine thoroughly. If you have the time, marinade overnight, otherwise leave as long as possible to marinade before cooking.

2.Pre-heat the oven to 150degC.

3.Place chicken thighs in an oven-proof dish. Pour over marinade and tuck bay leaves in between the thighs. Evenly disperse prunes, capers and olives around the chicken.

4.Sprinkle brown sugar over the chicken, then pour over the wine.

5.Cover tightly with foil and cook for one-and-a-half hours, basting the chicken several times. Take off the foil after one-and-a-half hours and cook for a further 15-20 mins to get some colour on the top of the chicken.

6.For the rice, fry the onion in butter till soft, around 4-5 mins. Add in the saffron and combine.

7.Whether you are using a rice cooker or pot, follow instructions on pack to cook your rice, pouring in the onion and saffron mix when you pour in your water to cook the rice.

8.Once cooked, place rice in a bowl and serve the chicken in the dish it is cooked in.