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Easy Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes Recipe – 50 Women Game Changers In Food – Clotilde Dusoulier

by Jeanette on October 7, 2011 · 29 Comments
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Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes
I make a lot of chicken during the week for my kids. Every night, they ask “what’s for dinner?” and on many days, the answer is simply …”chicken.” Of course, that begs the next question, “But what kind, Mom?” Fortunately, there are so many easy ways to cook chicken, that rarely do they complain once they sit down at the dinner table. Sometimes I stir fry chicken with vegetables, other times I poach it, and often, I bake chicken – there’s less fuss and cleanup involved.

This week, I made Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes, a dish that is best left to marinade the night before, then thrown into the oven the next day. It’s delicious at room temperature, which makes it perfect for busy weeknight dinners. 

This recipe is from Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate & Zucchini
blog, and is based off of the infamous Silver Palate Chicken Marbella recipe. Clotilde calls this dish Birthday Chicken because she made this for a group of lucky friends who gathered to celebrate her birthday one year. A few modifications to the original Chicken Marbella recipe were made, including using sherry vinegar, and sprinkling on some fresh cilantro and toasted sliced almonds before serving.

This week, a group of bloggers is celebrating Clotilde Dusoulier as one of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food. According to Gourmet Live, “Clotilde Dusoulier’s 2003-vintage blog, Chocolate & Zucchini is the Francophile’s dream.” When I first came across Chocolate & Zucchini, I thought the name was a bit odd, but soon discovered that this name encompasses Clotilde’s cooking style – the zucchini illustrates her focus on healthy and natural eating, while the chocolate represents her love for baking and chocolate.

Although Clotilde is 100% French, she started publishing Chocolate & Zucchini in English as a way to stay fluent in English following a two-year stint as a software engineer in California (she’s obviously super smart!). Also, when she first started her blog, the handful of blogs that existed were in English and she liked the sense of community between bloggers. Four years ago, Clotilde started publishing a French version of Chocolate & Zucchini as well.

Clotilde’s books include Chocolate and Zucchini, Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris. She recently published a translation and adaptation of the 1932 French equivalent of Joy of Cooking, Ginette Mathiot’s Je Sais Cuisiner (“I know How To Cook”).

Since Zucchini & Chocolate has been in existence since 2003, there are tons of recipes on Clotilde’s blog, so many that I had a tough time deciding what to make. One one night several weeks ago, I made her Saffron Roasted Cauliflower, and this week, her Perfect Roast Potatoes and this Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes. I had picked up some Jerusalem Artichokes from the farmer’s market this past weekend and threw them in with the roast potatoes – I’d never tried them before – they’re starchy like potatoes. Served with some roasted broccoli, I had a complete meal on the table, all made in the oven.

Easy Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes

Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini. I halved her recipe which was plenty for our family. ClotiIde uses coriander and almonds, but I didn’t have any, so I threw in some fresh thyme in the marinade. In the rush of things, I added the wine and sugar to the marinade instead of sprinkling the chicken with sugar and adding the wine just prior to baking – I think it came out just as good. I also adjusted the baking time downward to 40 minutes as the chicken was fully cooked and brown by then in my oven. Feel free to use chicken breast on the bone – my kids just prefer dark meat which is what I used. 

Caramelized Baked Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes served with Roasted Broccoli, Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes.

 Printable Recipe


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, drumsticks or breast on the bone
  • 1/3 cup green olives
  • 5 ounces pitted prunes, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, stripped of leaves
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine



  1. The night before serving, combine chicken, olives, prunes, garlic and bay leaves in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano and thyme, brown sugar and white wine. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour over the chicken and combine until the marinade coats the chicken thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Place chicken in a baking dish large enough to accommodate it in a single layer (you may need to use two pans).
  7. Pour remaining marinade over the chicken.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through, until the juices run clear, the meat is caramelized, and as Clotilde says, “your boyfriend says that really, that chicken smell is torture.”

Serves 4-6.

If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from 
One Perfect Bite.

Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Clotilde Dusoulier:
Kathleen from Bake Away with Me 
Barbara from Movable Feasts 
Kathleen from Gonna Want Seconds 

Martha from Lines From Linderhof

Nancy from Picadillo

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  1. Such a comforting dish.

  2. C&Z was probably the very first food blog I discovered and started reading on a regular basis. It seems like forever ago! There were just a few food blogs of note at that time, and hers set the path the rest of us would follow. I’m quite partial to chicken Marbella and make it often, with my own slight adaptations, too. In any form, it’s a classic.

  3. Chicken Marbella is my all-time favorite chicken dish – I’ll look forward to trying this variation too!

  4. Mmmm! I’m on my way out to the market in a bit and this recipe has struck me as a perfect dinner for tomorrow evening! Thanks! That Clotilde … such a good idea! You chose a great post to showcase her food style!

  5. The color on that chicken is gorgeous and this dish has some of my favorite flavors. Clotilde has always been one of my favorites and this recipe looks like another winner.

  6. Oooh I love this Jeanette!

  7. What a gorgeous color on that drumstick! Wish I could reach in and pick it up.

  8. The chicken looks so juicy and flavorful! Bet it is too!!

  9. I adore the combination of green olives and prune (have a similar recipe), and look at how gorgeous your golden chicken is! Love this recipe.

  10. Oh my gawsh…that skin is magical! If my daughter weren’t already at school, she’d swoon! My kids prefer dark meat, too….especially on the bone with skin. I think I may have to make this soon. Just gorgeous!

  11. I will be making this this again soon – it was so easy to throw together the night before and then just stick it in the oven the next day. One of my boys said “this is quality chicken” – I think that’s a huge compliment from a teenage boy!

  12. Oh my, those flavors are wonderful! What a super find for a C & Z recipe! Delish!

  13. Not only beautiful, but it sounds delicious. I bet there are a lot of variations you could do just using this recipe as a jumping off point.

  14. hahahah i totally remember asking my parents every night what was for dinner. your boys are SOOO cute. i seriously can’t wait to be a mom. :) love how caramelized this chicken looks. have a great sunday Jeanette!

  15. France – yes, you can add and substitute lots of different ingredients, and I’m sure it would be delicious.

    Junia – I know you will make a wonderful mom – those kid conversations are so fun, so glad they look forward to dinnertime.

  16. Chicken was always my mom’s go-to for dinner, though she never made anything quite as delicious or intriguing as this! I love the sweet and briny flavor combo.

  17. wow so beautiful and great weeknight dinner

  18. I have a pack of chicken thighs in the fridge and was wondering what to do with it…now I have a great idea!

  19. What a lovely looking dish – thanks!

    • Thanks Donalyn, I’d forgotten how much I like this flavor combination, so I’m so glad I came across this recipe on Clotilde’s blog.

  20. delicious looking meal!

  21. Wow – this looks so good. Love the flavor combination!

  22. Adding this to my to-cook soon list!

  23. Hi!

    Just found your site! I’ve seen this dish before but have yet to try it. The flavors just don’t seem to sound like that go but based off of all the feedback I’ll have to just trust that it’s delicious! Question, would kalamata olives work well in this? Also, would using balsamic be okay? No sherry vinegar on hand.


    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Hi Lindsey, so glad you stopped by. When I first made a version of this dish years ago, I had the same thoughts about the different flavors in this dish, but I can tell you that I think the salty, sweet and tangy flavors work together really nicely. I would probably substitute red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar as balsamic is sweeter. Kalamata olives would probably be fine, they will just have a softer texture than the firmer green olives.

  24. I have to thank you not only for this delicious recipe, but for your site. I am, admittedly, particular when it comes to recipes and it is rare that I want to make a recipe again, and I already have made several of your recipes twice, and cannot wait to make them again. This is one of them!! Such a great combination – easy to prepare AND delicious!! I made this with chicken breasts which can be a challenge to be tasty, especially when baked, and this was extremely tasty. the marinade is divine and the olives and prunes give it such a delectable flavor. It was such a treat to prepare a dish the night before and just pop in the oven. If you have a chance I would love to know if you make any other chicken recipes which involve marinating night before and popping in oven. Thanks again,

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Lisa, thanks so much for your kind feedback. This recipe is delicious and I love that it can be started ahead of time. During the summer, I make two simple marinades for grilled chicken. One with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper. The other with soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, a little sugar or honey, garlic, scallions and ginger.

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