Photo by: Colin Campbell

Roast chicken with dates, olives and capers

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8 chicken legs, drumstick and thigh attached, skin on (2kg net)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
15g fresh oregano, torn, plus extra for garnish
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
100g pitted green olives
60g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their juices
70g , pitted and quartered lengthways Medjoul dates
2 bay leaves
120ml dry white wine
1 tbsp date syrup or treacle
Salt and black pepper

The Silver Palate, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, is one of the best cookbooks I know and a classic of the 1980s, listing recipes from the first modern quality take-out food shop in New York. Many of the dishes in the book have become legendary. One of them, Chicken Marbella, is the inspiration for this recipe. The chicken needs marinading for at least a day, preferably two, to soften and flavour properly; I wouldn’t cut corners here. Serves four, generously


Place the chicken in a large, non-reactive bowl and add all of the ingredients, apart from the wine and date molasses, along with ¾ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Gently mix everything together, cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 1 to 2 days, stirring the ingredients a few times during the process.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Spread out the chicken legs on a large baking tray, along with all the marinade ingredients. Whisk together the wine and molasses and pour over the meat. Place in the oven and cook for 50 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times, until the meat is golden brown on top and cooked through.
Remove from the oven, transfer everything to a large platter, sprinkle over some freshly picked oregano leaves and serve.

Perfect with

  1. Date syrup

    Add a rich sweetness and depth to your cooking, the natural way

    Date syrup

  2. Merlot vinegar

    Vibrant and aromatic, this red wine vinegar will bring to life all that it's used with

    Merlot vinegar


{based on 13 reviews}

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  • Shop Perfect for a dinner party
    (18/08/2016) This dish is so easy, and so delicious. 10 mins max to prepare (I didn't marinate ahead) and then you can relax for an our with friends while it's in the oven. I didn't have all the ingredients so I used fresh rosemary instead of oregano, and honey instead of date syrup - it was still amazing. Serve with roast new potatoes, and baked broccoli.

  • Shop Delicious
    (23/02/2016) I made this for some friends for supper and it was delicious. Fab for when you have company as you do all the prep a couple of days before and just bung it in the oven when they arrive.
  • Shop LOVE THIS DISH !!!
    (18/10/2014) I made this recently for my husband, we have cook off's on the weekend and I am proud to say this recipe gave me full marks!

    The marinade is so simple and effective and the chicken once cooked was so flavoursome and tender.. I made Ottolenghi's Green Couscous to partner this dish and it was a big hit!

    The in laws are in for a treat next week! xxx Love Ottolenghi!
  • Shop Best meal ever!!
    (23/05/2014) I have cooked this recipe a number of times as it is so delicious. We like chicken breast and with the long marinating process the breasts remain sweet and tender.

    I served it at a recent dinner party along with the fennel gratin from Ottolenghi the cookbook, new pots and broccoli, the comment was that it was the best meal my guests had ever tasted!!! Thank you Yotam for such fantastic recipes.
  • Shop Best marinated chicken
    (08/05/2014) To start with I don't like chicken, but this dish is so delicious that I ate a lot of it. I recommend marinating it at least for two days. The saltiness and the sweetness of the sauce is superbly well balanced.
  • Shop Entertaining Excellence
    (14/04/2014) Excellent for dinner party because you can do the heavy lifting in advance. Flavor was well balanced with olives and sweetness of dates. Loved the sauce so I added more volume to liquids all the way around. Used his couscous recipe from the winter vegetables which was excellent with this dish... So you can enjoy the extra sauce! Next time I would toss in a couple more garlic cloves (at least one per person) since they were in high demand.
  • Shop very good
    (12/04/2014) This is a delicious sticky chicken dish - lovely to be able to prepare something and leave it for a while, then put it in the oven and leave it again. As we are only two I froze the extra and that worked well too.
  • Shop Just wow!
    (31/03/2014) This is one of the easiest but tastiest recipes I've made in quite a long time. I marinated the chicken for just 1 day and it was lovely. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, except I used pomegranate molasses as that's what I had in the cupboard. I served with some roasted butternut squash and ciabatta. Mix some ingredients in a bowl, leave for a day, pop in the oven for 50 mins - what could be easier?
  • Shop Fabulous!
    (01/03/2014) This was my first recipe of Yotam's that I've made. It was absolutely delicious! I basically made it the way the recipe said to. The only thing I did at the end was spoon off the fat from the baking dish and then used a few tablespoons of fat and the rest of the chicken juices (strained of the dates, capers, etc.) and made a gravy using cornstarch. It really was amazing! I am making it again tomorrow night for when my brother comes to visit me. I'm also considering making the Gondi recipe tomorrow (If my brother picks up the Iranian limes for me from a Portland market) as well as the Freekeh Pilaf. Thank you for all these lovely dishes.
  • Shop Awesome
    (14/01/2014) Love love love this awesome recipe.
  • Shop Great for casual dining!
    (18/12/2013) Really delicious and even my children liked it. So simple and the marinading well in advance makes all the difference
  • Shop Delicious for dinner party
    (14/09/2013) Cooked this tonight for my closest friends. I marinated it for 24 hours and mixed it about four times while it was marinating. I used slightly more dates and olives as my pack sizes were about 10-20g bigger. I mixed the wine with treacle which worked perfectly. Cooked it in my Aga - top oven underneath some potato dauphinois - for an hour. Served with some roasted chanteray carrots (with cumin seeds). It was gorgeous. My friend wanted the recipe. I will be cooking this again. :-) thanks Yotam :-)
  • Shop Perfect Combination
    (09/09/2013) The saltiness of the olives and sweetness of the dates are just superb. Who would have thought to combine these two. I recommend to marinate for 2 days as suggested.