Family Birthday Dinner: aka World’s BEST CHICKEN

My camera is getting fixed. Until then, I can’t take any photos for the blog, so this post is taking the place of my promised one about showing you how to wear antique and vintage jewelry. As soon as I’m reunited with my camera, that post will be up. Until then, I hope you enjoy this.

Birthdays are a big deal for me. Not so much mine, but those days that count the years of those I love. There is nothing I love more than to have a family celebration here at home. Last month, we celebrated the birthday of one of our daughters with a delicious Chicken Marbella dinner.

Since the weather was on/off sunny, I set the table in our large kitchen with paper placemats. I am not a huge fan of paper anything, but these from Anna Griffin that I bought a while ago are so beautiful, with their paper lace edges, that I fell in love with them. {they last for more than one time} My daughter loves light blue, and bright green, so I set my table with a set of antique light blue plates, and folded bright green cloth napkins on each plate.
Since her three little children were so excited to celebrate their beautiful mama’s birthday, I wanted to add a touch of fun for them. I found these darling black and white striped straws at a party store, each one has a silly saying on it. The perfect touch to make this celebration get off on a fun start.
Our everyday flatware, glasses and flowers from the market in bright colors in some vintage drinking glasses made this table complete! I also popped three living herb plants in a cute handled holder with chalkboard fronts, on which I wrote “happy birthday” her name, and Cheers! Table…done. and festive. On the chalkboard that hangs nearby I drew a large birthday cake, and made a banner out of black paper and spelled out Happy Birthday. {sorry, forgot to take picture…but you get the idea, right?}


So now for the World’s Best Chicken Dinner {requested by the birthday girl}. This is from the Silver Palate , thanks to my friend Monique for sharing the recipe and recommending boneless chicken breasts. easier, and wonderful! I served it this time with rice and asparagus.

Chicken Marbella

Marinate overnight. Yields: About 10 servings.


10 half chicken breasts { skinned/boned}
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1-1-1/2  heads of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped


1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. {I do this in the same large glass casserole that I bake it in for ease}

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

4. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the chicken pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro.

You can serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.



The prunes might look a little scary, but they are so amazing, you will love this dish! Your house will smell like garlic, and like cooking love. Make sure to put the juices on the chicken when you serve this. Even the little party participants loved the chicken { two skipped the olives and capers, but loved the chicken!}

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9 thoughts on “Family Birthday Dinner: aka World’s BEST CHICKEN”

  1. Oh, that looks so beautiful, and just right! I know that you often have very elegant tables, but this is just right for a family gathering. I agree that it doesn’t always need to be over the top, and this is just beautiful. I am going to make this for my brother when he visits from France next month. Thank you for always having just the right antique, idea or recipe for me. I truly enjoy your blog, and have bought beautiful antiques for both my homes from you, Lidy.

  2. Marsha

    I think I am going to make this for Easter. It looks wonderful! Thank you for the great table setting ideas, always. Some times it’s great to use color, and the paper mats are just right for this occasion. I use my grand tablecloths from FrenchGardenHouse for my more elegant occasions, the last one I purchased from you, the French embroidered cloth, is the most beautiful tablecloth I have ever seen. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks so much for the visit, and your kind comments, Sandy and Marsha! I hope that you and your guests will love this chicken as much as we enjoy it here.

  4. That looked amazing…. the dinner and the table setting 🙂

    You’re daughter is gorgeous, Lidy. I hope she had a very lovely day.


  5. Nicolette

    Beautiful table! Since we celebrate lots of birthdays around here, I’m filing this under “always great” for dinner parties! Ps. Love all the recent Blue & White antique dishes!

  6. I notice reference to the use of chicken breasts in this recipe, yet the recipe later refers to thighs…are these pieces interchangeable in this recipe? Sounds delicious either way. Thank you

    1. Karin, my mistake. The original recipe called for thighs, I just prefer chicken breasts. No matter what you use, it’s a wonderful recipe I pull out again and again when entertaining! Hope you will love it as much as I do.

  7. Carole Nichelin

    Hi Lindy , do you use fresh prunes or canned? If you use thighs is cooking time less ? Thank you , so fun to try something new

  8. Carole,
    I use dried prunes, because they are easy to keep in the pantry. I have never tried it
    with thighs, but would guess that the cooking time might be slightly less.
    There is enough liquid in the dish, though, that it shouldn’t really be a problem.
    I suggest you “check in” with the chicken if using thighs a little bit before the original
    cooking time expires.

    I hope you love this!

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