Paleo Chicken Marbella – Healthified

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Paleo Roasted Chicken Marbela

My good friend Jeneen turned me onto this recipe over ten years ago when food allergies where unheard of and massive amounts of sugar didn’t phase me a bit.  A famous recipe that originated in a cookbook called the The Silver Palate, this recipe is well known and loved. There is an unusual combination of ingredients in this recipe, but don’t be put off…this recipe is beloved for a reason.  A veritable party in your mouth of contrasting flavors and textures!

Some purists might balk at a tweaking of a good thing.  But with 1 cup of brown sugar called for, and a very soupy sauce left in the bottom of the pan (my husband would lament that sauciness, and I aim to please), I knew I wanted to change some things for our family.  My original intention was to just reduce the sweetener and use palm sugar…but then I wondered: what would happen if I left it out altogether?  After all prunes are super sweet in and of themselves…could I rely on them for that sweet and savory combination many of us love so well?

The end result of this luscious dish is succulent pieces of tender chicken with a perfect marriage of sweet and salty.  Even better the skin caramelizes in the pan without a bath of juice to sit in!  Enjoy, a super super easy, hands-off dinner that will please the masses.

Incidentally, if any of you would like to add the last couple of ingredients for more sauce.. when you are ready to bake, sprinkle the marinated pieces with about 1/4 cup palm sugar, followed by 1/2 cup white wine and bake as directed.

PS: I leave the olives out because I have never been able to get my taste buds around them.  Forgive me, I am less than perfect!

PSS: These chicken pieces are great hot OR cold!

4.8 from 8 reviews
Savory Chicken Marbella - Healthified
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, with skin ( I used drumsticks and thighs)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ⅓ cup halved or quartered prunes
  • ¼ cup capers w/ juice
  • 8 green olives - halved (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. In a blender, puree red wine vinegar through the sea salt until the garlic is smooth.
  2. Pour into a container large enough to hold all your chicken pieces (a Ziploc bag would work too).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to blend marinade ingredients.
  4. Add your chicken pieces, and make sure all pieces are evenly coated and touched by the goodness!
  5. Place in the fridge and marinate 24 HOURS!! No, a couple of hours is not the same, so RESIST!
  6. When you are ready to cook, remove the pieces and place them in a large roasting pan with all the marinade.
  7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Roast the chicken for 45-60 minutes until well cooked and the the skin in golden brown and crispy.


This recipe was shared on Paleo AIP RoundtableMostly Homemade Mondays, Fat Tuesdays, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul, Waste Not Want Not, GF Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday,

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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

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43 comments on “Paleo Chicken Marbella – Healthified
  1. Stacy @ A Delightful Home says:

    This looks wonderful. Pinning to make later! Yum.

  2. Linda says:

    Looks great! Did you cook it in your cast iron skillet? Is there a substitution for the capers? I don’t usually have those on hand.

    • Hi Linda! I have cooked it in my cast iron, and a roasting ban…a full recipe doesn’t fit in my cast iron! Since there are so many layers of flavor in the recipe, leave the capers out if you don’t have them. They add a great flavor, but it will be good without them too…nothing really mimics them…except for green olives which are in there anyways!

  3. Eileen says:

    How interesting–prunes and olives! I love olives, and the sweetness of the prunes would be great with them. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry says:

    Love the flavors in this dish Tessa! I imagine capers and chicken pair beautifully together.

  5. kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing says:

    thank you for linking up with Kids in the Kitchen! love it – pinning and tweeting :)

  6. Bonnie says:

    You are so right about the marinade time! Salt pulls the water out of the chicken, making salt water. Then it all gets pulled back into the chicken together. If you take it out too soon, the chicken is dry!

    Ok, enough marinade wonkiness. :-) This looks wonderful! I got some broiler chickens from a local farm and this would be a great recipe for one.


  7. France @ Beyond The Peel says:

    I’ll forgive you for leaving the olives out, I can always add them in. I love this healthified version! Beautiful as well Tessa.

  8. Ewa "Mom Photographer" says:

    It sounds so delicious!!!

  9. Robin @ Thank Your Body says:

    This looks soooo delicious! I’m definitely pinning this to make SOON.

    Thanks for linking up to Thank Your Body Thursday!

  10. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says:

    Thanks for linking up at Gluten Free Fridays! I have this tweeted and pinned!

  11. Dina-Marie @ Cultured Palate says:

    This sounds great!I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions:

  12. Zan says:

    I made this for dinner last night (after marinating for the required 24 hours!). My boyfriend and I loved it. I left out the capers because I didn’t have any, but I did add the green olives. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Amanda @Natural Living Mamma says:

    Mmmm I am going to have to try this! We would exclude capers and olives because my husband is weird. 😉

    Thanks for sharing on Simple Meals Friday!

  14. Heidi says:

    I like this recipe so much that I will be featuring it this week on Gluten-Free Monday at Please stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like. I hope you’ll be back to link up again on Monday.

  15. April @ The 21st Century Housewife says:

    I’ve pinned this one, Tessa. It sounds SO good! I love the sweet/salty flavours and it is wonderful how you have made the recipe so much healthier. I like the addition of the prunes too.

  16. LBC says:

    Delicious. My mom used to make the non-paleo version of this recipe as a kid. As much as I enjoyed this, I think the ratio of toppings (olives, capers, and prunes) to chicken is too low and I’d recommend tripling these toppings. Also add some chicken stock so the marinade can be large enough to penetrate all the chicken.

    Thanks for posting!

    • Easy enough to add more of those things LBC….my husband wishes I’d leave out the prunes…but everyone has their preferences…and mine include the prunes! Thanks so much for the feedback, readers find it so helpful!

  17. THis looks like it doesn’t lack ANY FLAVOR AT ALL! 😀

  18. Thank you for posting. This looks amazing :)
    Marianne @ Ragdoll Kitchen recently posted…Carob Sesame CrackersMy Profile

  19. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Tessa,
    I can’t wait to taste this recipe. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted…Whats For Dinner Next Week 10-27-13My Profile

  20. Andrea says:

    Ooh, this looks sooo good. I absolutely love capers, and don’t feel like they are in enough recipes. Definitely trying this one!

    Thanks for linking up to Natural Living Monday!
    Andrea recently posted…Tips for Building Your CreditMy Profile

  21. This sounds amazing! Never would have thought to cook with prunes. Very interesting. I’m going to have to give this a try. Thanks!
    Dawn @Transformed By Food recently posted…Deliciously Simple Paleo ApplesauceMy Profile

  22. This must be amazing – I will definitely have to try it! Thanks so much for sharing with Healing With Food Friday! Come back again this week – we are LIVE now:
    Dawn @ Peeling Back the Onion Layers recently posted…Healing With Food Friday #8My Profile

  23. Hollie D says:

    Just a curious question-I am going to put this on my menu for dinner next week and planning what I need so what if have a family member that can’t eat prunes what can be a substitute? Thanks

  24. Here is a recipe I hope you can help me “Healthify.” Cuban Chicken.
    1/2 cup fresh orange juice 1 1/2cups chopped garnet yams
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 cup tomatoe sauce
    1/4 cup minced garlic. 1 cup dry white wine
    1 jalapeno pepper minced 1/3 cup caper drained
    2 TBLS orange zest 1/2 cup seedless raisins
    kosher salt 1/2 cup pitted green olives (I know)
    4 lbs skinless chicken breasts and thighs
    1/3 cup peanut oil 1 TBLS lime zest
    4 cups chopped onions
    1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper

    Combine orange and lime juices, garlic, chili, 1 TBLS orange zest, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces, toss to coat, and marinate at least 2 hours or over night in the refrigerator.

    Remove Chicken from marinade and pat dry on paper towels. Reserve marinade.

    Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. heat the peanut oil in a heavy Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add chicken, in batches, and brown on both sides, Leave space around the chicken so that the chicken can brown without burning, Remove the chicken pieces to a platter as they are finished.

    When all the chicken has been browned, add the onions, bell peppers, and potatoes to the Dutch Oven and saute until onions become translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Return the chicken to the pan. add the tomato sauce, wine, capers, raisins, olives, and reserved marinade. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste and cut into largest piece of chicken to check doneness.

    When chicken is done stir in the remaining orange zest and the lime zest. Let rest covered for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Using the lid to hold back the solid pieces, pour off the cooking liquid into a small sauce pan; strain if necessary. Boil the cooking liquid over medium heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. pour over the chicken in the pan. Transfer the chicken mixture to a serving platter. Garnish with parsley. from Secrets from a Caterer’s Kitchen. Nicole Aloni.

  25. Miz Helen says:

    Your Paleo Chicken Marbella looks fabulous, I am getting hungry just looking at it! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Miz Helen

  26. Becky says:

    Amazing! This would be perfect to make the house smell great and warm my belly on these winter evenings. Thanks for linking on Tuesday Greens!
    Becky recently posted…Tuesday Greens #58My Profile

  27. I love your adaptation of this classic recipe. I’ve printed it out to try myself. Thanks for linking up at the AIP Recipe Roundtable, Tessa.

  28. Looks amazing Tessa! You will be featured tomorrow on Simple Meals Friday. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe. It’s going on the menu plan.
    Katie@SimpleFoody recently posted…Healing Diastasis Without Surgery {intro}My Profile

  29. Miz Helen says:

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted…Full Plate Thursday 2-6-14My Profile

  30. Kristin says:

    This sounds really good. Could you freeze it at the marinade stage and cook later?

    Do you guys know if it would do anything “weird” to the chicken if it was frozen in the marinade?

    I’m hoping to adapt this to a once a month cooking plan :)


  31. I think leaving the sugar out completely was a great idea! I’m glad you mentioned the olives thing, because I want to try this, but yeah, green olives. >gag<

    Thanks for sharing with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday!

  32. Made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit – really flavorful!!! Thanks for another winning recipe :)

    Cassidy @ Cassidy’s Craveable Creations recently posted…Paleo Tortillas {Gluten, Grain, Nut & Egg Free}My Profile

  33. This is a great recipe! I’d love it if you would share it on my new corn-free link party.
    Jillian Hudson recently posted…Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole – CF, GF, DFMy Profile

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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