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Picnic Fare Roast Chicken Recipe from Alice

Apparently, when Alice B. Toklas went on a picnic, she did not fool around. I say “apparently” because I can find no evidence that today’s recipe was either taken on a picnic by Toklas or is actually her recipe.

I have an uncredited magazine clipping — most likely from the ’90s or early ’00s — called “Alice B. Toklas Roast Chicken.” It mentions her taking the chicken on a picnic. Unfortunately, this recipe does not appear in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, written by Toklas and published by Harper & Brothers/Doubleday in 1954.

Continue reading here for a literary, culinary journey by: Cocoa & Lavender. David paired the recipe with a delightful (and practical for a picnic) rosé in a can by Château Léoube. Here are the essentials, if you are looking for inspiration for a Provencal picnic.

Picnic Fare Roast Chicken Picnic

Roast Chicken for a Picnic

David Scott Allen | Cocoa & Lavender
A delicious roast chicken best served with a glass (or can) of wine at your evening picnic!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 4 people


  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on) trim fat and excess skin as necessary
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Orange for the zest finely grated
  • 3/4 cup Strained Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice from two Oranges
  • 3/4 cup Tawny Port
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 4 small French Boules about 6 inches in diameter or 1 large boule for table service


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Heat butter over medium-high heat in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Season the chicken lightly with salt and generously with freshly ground black pepper. Brown chicken pieces on both sides, starting skin side down — about 5-7 minutes total.
  • Whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, port, and soy sauce in a 2-cup measure and pour over the chicken; it will spatter, so be careful. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and return to the stovetop. Place chicken pieces on a plate and set aside. Add cream and set heat to medium-high. Reduce cream for about 10 minutes and then add back the chicken pieces, turning to coat, ending with skin side up. Cook another 2-3 minutes to heat the chicken through.

Taking on a Picnic

  • While the sauce is reducing, cut the tops off the four (4) boules and hollow out the bottom half of the bread, saving the interior for another use (breadcrumbs, gazpacho, stuffing, etc.). Make sure the cavity is just large enough to hold a piece of chicken.
  • After the chicken is warmed through, place one piece in each boule and divide the sauce among the four chicken pieces. Replace the tops of the boules, wrap each separately in a tea towel, and pack them (right side up) in your picnic basket. When serving, provide plenty of napkins because, as finger food, it is quite messy!

Serving at the Table

  • You will only need four (4) slices cut from 1 boule. Toast the slices and divide among the four (4) warmed plates, topping each slice with a piece of chicken and plenty of sauce.
Keyword Chicken, picnic
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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This incredible roasted chicken recipe pairs exquisitely with a chilled glass of wine and fresh greens. With a Mediterranean flair, this dish is sure to impress!
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If you're looking for a dinner idea that's bound to impress, these stuffed chicken breasts are juicy and full of flavour! Not to mention, they're totally easy to make with a little love and patience!
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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