Alice B. Toklas Roast Chicken via Peggy Knickerbocker

January 22, 2012
2 Ratings
  • Serves 2 or 3
Author Notes

One of my 2012 resolutions is to cook my way through Peggy's book, Simple Soirees, a James Beard winner and beautifully photographed by Christopher Hirsheimer. This chicken caught my eye a while ago, particularly the combination of port and orange juice used to add delectable flavor to the bird. I thought I had port, but a house visit by a child of mine rendered me port-less, as I discovered this evening; however, I persevered and made a substitute of dry sherry, as well as half and half for the sauce. This recipe produces a succulent, juicy bird with wonderful yet simple flavor. I roasted vegetables in separate baking sheets placed just below the bird. Alas, I did not think to photograph the dish until it was half eaten. Peggy calls this a "Romantic Dinner" in her book, and I tend to agree. —Bevi

What You'll Need
  • 1 3-4 pound roasting chicken
  • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ruby port or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons half and half, or cream
  • zest of one orange
  • more salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Sprinkle the chicken generously with the salt. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook it. Take the chicken out of the fridge and bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large Dutch oven or oven proof skillet, warm the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken breast side down for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and brown for another 5 minutes.
  3. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the bird for 45 minutes, uncovered and untouched. Then, pour the port or sherry over the chicken and baste. Roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the orange juice and baste. Roast for 5 minutes. The chicken is done when the thigh juices run clear. i had to roast my chicken for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, and cover with foil while you make the sauce.
  5. Deal with the pan juices. Remove as much fat as you can, and then add the half and half or cream to the pan juices, and cook over medium heat, stirring up the crispy bits. Add about half of the orange zest, and reduce sauce to about 2/3 of the original amount. Season with salt and pepper to your taste - I did not need to add any seasoning.
  6. Carve the chicken and spoon a little sauce over the slices. Sprinkle the remaining zest on top. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • healthierkitchen
  • Bevi

Recipe by: Bevi

Cooking is an important part of my past. I grew up and worked on our family resort. These days, I cook good food to please my friends and family.

2 Reviews

healthierkitchen January 23, 2012
Great idea! I bet I could do it with a cut up chicken (or spatchcocked for that matter) to make it even easier.
Bevi January 23, 2012
Thanks! I think a spatchcocked bird would work beautifully and you would cut down on the initial roasting time. Same with a cut up bird. The sauce is delicious. I can't wait to try the recipe as written - with port. Sherry was really good, though.