Mediterranean-Style Chicken Starts the Jewish New Year Off Right

IMG_0777            Growing up my mom would serve a large lunch after services that included simple roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes. It’s one of those taste memories that makes everything seem ok. While I loved that simple dish, I have elevated it with capers, olives and dried fruit to now become our family tradition. Know that this dish will fit in for any dinner party or holiday entrée, as well as Rosh Hashanah.

Adapted from the Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella, this sweet and savory chicken can be served hot right out of the oven, at room temperature, or chilled for a luncheon buffet. I’ve added black and green olives and dried apricots for a tangy twist. Make sure to use a roasting or jelly roll pan to catch any juices. Just make sure that the chicken is one layer so it can cook evenly. My friend uses a disposable aluminum roaster pan for easy clean up. You can easily double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

I like to serve this with rice, farro or quinoa pilaf. Make sure to add some sautéed chopped leeks and carrots to the pilaf for a colorful presentation. Accompany with green beans for a complete main course. To drink? The versatility of this dish gives you flexibility of a wine choice. Aromatic whites such as Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc mirror the recipe’s herbs and fruit. A Syrah or Zinfandel would also be delicious. It’s hard to make a mistake with this wine pairing!

Mediterranean-Style Chicken with Capers, Plums, and Olives

Serves 6 to 8


15 small garlic cloves

2 tablespoons dried oregano


Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped

1/2 cup dried whole pitted apricots

3/4 cup dried whole pitted plums (prunes)

1/3 cup pitted green olives

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives

1/3 cup capers with some brine

16 chicken thighs skin and bone on

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

3/4 cup dry red wine such Zinfandel or Syrah

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

  1. To make the marinade, in a bowl, stir together the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, oil, leek, apricots, plumes, olives, and capers until blended. Place the chicken in a large lock-top plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Turn the chicken in the bag to coat them evenly. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken in baking pans in a single layer, skin side down. Arrange the marinade ingredients around the chicken. In a small bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in the wine, stirring to blend. Pour half over the chicken.
  1. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and turn chicken skin side up with tongs. Pour over the remaining wine and roast for another 25 minutes, basting once, or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through, and no pink color remains.
  1. To serve, arrange the chicken pieces with the fruit and olives on a platter and top with some of the pan juices. Garnish with the parsley or cilantro and serve immediately.

Advance Preparation: Make up to 1 day ahead through step 1, cover, and refrigerate. Or make 1 day ahead and serve cold or at room temperature.

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