Picnic Chicken Bundles Recipe

Picnic Chicken Bundles Recipe
Looking for something different to take on a picnic or alfresco lunch? During the late 70s and 80s there was a great cooking magazine called Cuisine. It always had dozens of mouthwatering recipes and articles that were outside the box. One that I’ve never forgotten was a recipe for Tuscan Chicken that was a whole chicken, sautéed on all sides, then baked to cook it through. It was then placed on a giant piece of bread dough and covered with a stuffing made with ham and vegetables. I made it several times, and even though it was delicious, I felt it was too much work to make often. Like many recipes that we love, it somehow fell through the cracks and I haven’t made it for years.
Recently, trying to think of unique and different things to make for picnics – I had lots of time while on quarantine due to Covid 19 - I remembered that yummy chicken. Here, I’ve recreated it in serving size bundles for picnics that hopefully won’t be alone in the yard, but at bonafide gatherings after the virus is gone. The chicken and stuffing can be made ahead, and the entire bundles can be made ahead and frozen. When they are thawed, they can be re-baked in the oven till the bread is crisp, then packaged up for a memorable picnic. Salads go well with these meal-in-one Picnic Chicken Bundles, and everyone seems to love them. If you have a lot of side dishes, cut these bundles in half because they are quite big.

If you don’t have an automatic bread machine to make the dough, you can purchase a couple of packages of refrigerated French bread dough, or bread-bowl dough at your favorite grocery store bakery. Frozen dough is also available, and all of these options are quick and easy. Also, if you prefer, you can skip the gourmet mushrooms and use regular white mushrooms; just chop them and add as the recipe directs.

6 Servings

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast

2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cleaned, trimmed, and halved crosswise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon granular chicken bouillon

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup ham, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 cup dried gourmet mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups hot water, drained, and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

  1. Place the dough ingredients in the pan of an automatic bread machine; start the machine and let run 10 minutes. After 10 minutes check to make sure there is a ball of dough in the machine; if it's too soft, add a little more flour; if it's too stiff, add additional water.
  2. When the cycle has finished, transfer the dough to a floured surface, divide the dough into 6 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet; add the chicken breast pieces and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Brown the chicken breasts and cook on both sides just until barely cooked through, or until an instant read thermometer reads 140º.
  5. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool.
  6. Pour the wine into the skillet; stir in the bouillon.
  7. Let the mixture deglaze the pan, scraping any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. When the liquid has been reduced by about 1/3, add the onions, carrots, ham, and onions.
  9. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley and set aside to cool.
  10. Assembly: Roll the dough pieces out to circles about 8 inches in diameter.
  11. Divide the filling among the circles, placing it in the middle; place a chicken breast on top.””

  12. Spray the dough with water, bring the sides together, and press well to make a seam that won't leak. ””
  13. Place the bundles on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Let the bundles rise for about 30 minutes.
  15. Preheat oven to 400º.
  16. Spray the bundles with water and put them in the oven.
  17. Bake 25-30 minutes or until crisp and brown.
  18. Serve at room temperature.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 599 Calories from Fat 162
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 27% Protein 32% Carb. 37%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 18 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 122 mg
Sodium 1008 mg
Total Carbohydrate 55 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 48 g

Vitamin A 110% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 0% Iron 18%

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This content was written by Karen Hancock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karen Hancock for details.