Chicken Marbella with a Hearty Merlot

Course: Chicken
Servings: 6


  • 1/2 cup Merlot, or other dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices (peel and all)
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in to 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Two 3 1/2- to 4 pound chickens, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar


  • In a medium bowl, combine the wine, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, cherries, olives, bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Divide the chicken between two large resealable bags, divide the wine mixture between them, and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Set aside in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange one rack in the bottom third of the oven and another in the middle.
  • Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in a single layer on two large rimmed baking sheets. Squeeze the marinade mixture, including the fruit, olives, herbs, and spices, out of the bags and over the chicken, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and bake, basting every 15 or 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. (You can prepare the chicken a day in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in the juices.)
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken, fruit, olives, herbs, and spices to a platter or plates. Spoon some of the pan juices on top and serve, passing any remaining pan juices at the table.
    Copyright Jill Silverman Hough. All rights reserved.



Pairs well with 
Grgich Hills Estate Merlot, Napa Valley

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