Beans Marbella

Beans Marbella

Beans Marbella

This recipe was born from a concept initially introduced in The Veggie, our weekly newsletter dedicated to vegetarian home cooking. It draws inspiration from the renowned dish "chicken Marbella," famously featured in "The Silver Palate Cookbook." Instead of chicken, the foundation of this dish is created using a pot of tender-skinned, creamy beans and their flavorful cooking liquid.
These beans are combined with a pan of sautéed garlic, reduced red wine, ample olive oil, prunes, and olives. The dish is then topped with a roasted potato salad with shallots soaked in vinegar, capers, and parsley. While it's not an exact replication of chicken Marbella, it offers a delightful and satisfying way to savor its familiar flavors — the zesty, salty tang of vinegar, capers, and olives complemented by the sweetness of prunes. You can serve this dish as is, but it reaches an even greater level of indulgence when accompanied by thickly sliced and toasted bread brushed with olive oil and garlic.
Servings 4


For the Beans:

  • 1 pound of dried beans ideally thin-skinned, creamy varieties like cannellini or great Northern beans
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil with extra for drizzling
  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Kosher salt like Diamond Crystal and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup of halved Castelvetrano olives
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped prunes

For the Potatoes:

  • 1 pound of fingerling potatoes halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt like Diamond Crystal and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped capers
  • Fresh parsley leaves and tender stems torn


Begin with the beans:

  • Start by rinsing the beans, then place them into a large, sturdy pot.
  • Ensure enough water to cover them (approximately 12 cups) generously.
  • Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, bay leaves, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the beans to simmer, occasionally stirring, until they become exceptionally tender, typically taking about 1½ to 2 hours.
  • Add water by the cupful if necessary to ensure the beans remain submerged.

Prepare the potatoes:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a large sheet pan.
  • Season them generously with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly.
  • Roast the potatoes, stirring once halfway through the process until they attain a golden-brown hue and become tender, which usually takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Set the roasted potatoes aside.
  • Complete the bean preparation: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a spacious and deep skillet. Add the finely chopped garlic and sauté until it turns soft and aromatic. As soon as the edges of the garlic begin to take on color, pour in the red wine and simmer until the wine reduces by half, typically taking about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the cooked beans (you should have approximately 7 cups) into the reduced wine mixture in the skillet. Add roughly 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the beans, ensuring it adequately covers most of the beans. Then, include the olives, prunes, and an additional ¼ cup of olive oil. Allow this mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring periodically, until the flavors harmonize and the liquid slightly thickens to form a sauce, typically within 10 to 15 minutes. Season it to your taste with salt and pepper.

Finish the preparation of the potatoes:

  • Combine the finely minced shallot in a medium-sized bowl with the red wine vinegar.
  • Add the roasted potatoes, capers, and parsley, then toss them gently to ensure they are evenly coated.
  • Season the mixture with salt and pepper to your preference.
  • Transfer the seasoned potatoes on top of the beans, drizzle them with olive oil, and serve.