Friday, August 21, 2009

Poulet en Papillote

Good Day my fellow food lovers! First off, as you may already know - Sarah and I WON the Capitol Iron Chef Peoples Choice Award! We had an absolute blast, really we did. It was a blazing 95 degrees, we were outside, and we were mashed between a 4 foot tailgate grill and a bunsen burner...whew! It was amazing. The day went perfect, I was VERY happy with what we created...another one for the books!

Today, I will be discussing my 'Adventures in Papilotte'. For dinner last night I made, Poulet de Papilotte along side pan seared Bok Choy & Red Bell Peppers. It started out like this....

Here we have a recipe for 2 people:
~ Olive Oil
~ White Wine
~ Lemon Juice
~ one Brown Russet Potato, or about 3 small red potatoes
~ half of an Onion,
~ one minced Shallot, if you don't have a shallot - use a garlic clove (I just prefer shallots)
~ 2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme (OR - you can use oregano or rosemary, whatever you fancy)
~ 2 breasts of chicken, (OR you can use 2 filets of fish)
~ Preheat over to 400 degrees

...side note on Fresh Herbs VS. Dried Herbs. Sometimes it makes more sense to use dried herbs, primarily due to cost and minimalizing waste. Theoretically, dried herbs are more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs, per Tablespoon of Fresh. For this recipe I used two sprigs of thyme, if you are using dried thyme - use approximately 1/3 teaspoon (which is close to the equivalent of 2 sprigs fresh).

First thing we need to do is, create flavor. What's better than an infused oil to create flavor?
Over LOW heat, add about 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Then add your minced shallot and 2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme (or 1/3 tsp of dried). Simmer over low until flavors are infused - about 5-7 minutes. At this point I splashed in about a Tablespoon of White Wine and about a Tablespoon of Lemon Juice, remove from heat - set aside.

Next, slice up your potato and onion - add to a medium size bowl. Pour half of your infused oil over top, and toss.

Now we are ready for the 'papilotte'. As far as the 'papilotte' is concerned, your options are endless. The intent is to SEAL the package to prevent the moisture from escaping - therefore creating a VERY juicy piece of chicken or fish. With that being said, one could make a pocket out of Parchment Paper, Aluminum Foil, or even a brown paper bag.

For my adventure, I used Parchment Paper. Tear off 2 pieces of parchment paper; 10 inch squares. Next, divide your your potato/onion mixture in half and place in the center of each paper square. Then top with your choice of chicken or fish. Pour the remaining infused oil over top, salt and pepper ...

Next, seal the package. This is much like wrapping a present:

I chose to create an envelope, and ultimately wished I had made a triangle pocket.
Once I closed my package, I didn't think it had a good seal - so I flipped it over to create a seal on the bottom, which worked fine...but a triangle pocket would have worked much better. With a triangle pocket you can roll the edges to create a tight seal.

Place your pockets on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven (that you've preheated to 400 degrees). For CHICKEN Bake for 25-30 minutes. For FISH preheat to the same, baking for only 15 minutes.

And Wah Lah... (be careful opening pockets, as the steam will be VERY hot)

I served mine with Pan seared Bok Choy, Red Bell Peppers and Garlic:

In closing, I would definitely make this again - it was really easy to make and really easy to clean up. I think if I made this recipe with Fish (Poisson en Papilotte) instead of Chicken, I would make it without the potatoes inside the pocket. Maybe with a rice pilaf on the side instead. One could throw bell pepper strips, squash or zuchinni inside the pocket as well. YUM! These pockets are light, healthy, and perfect for making individual portions.

Until next time....

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