Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chicken, Asparagus & Mushrooms En Papillote

En papillote...that would be cooked in parchment paper...a great cooking method that brings out the natural flavors of whatever you put into the packet, mingling them together while keeping everything moist and succulent. 
A unique culinary experience with every combination you create...and easy to do.

I must admit, this is the first time I've cooked en papillote, and I learned a few things during the process..
  • the flavors are intensified in that little package, a little goes a long way i.e. lemon
  • if using chicken, rather than pounding the breast to equalize the thickness, it would be better to cut the breast horizontally in half, creating 2 thinner cutlets; this will decrease the cooking time and allow the veggies to remain al dente... 
  • you don't need to create a lot of air space in the package, just enough to allow room for the steam
  • I saw suggestions for a heart shaped papillote, but decided not to go through the effort...I believe that heart shape would allow the package to surround the food more effectively...next time, I'll cut my parchment into a heart shape, then fill
The recipe I'm sharing what I did, not what I think I should have done...you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Chicken, Asparagus & Mushrooms En Papillote

3 pounded boneless, skinless seasoned chicken breast (instructions to follow)
1 lb asparagus spears with ends snapped off
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
6 thinly sliced cipollini onions drizzled with olive oil (mild and sweet)
Palmful of Herbs de Provence
Olive oil
Salt & fresh ground pepper
1 thinly sliced Meyers lemon (mild and sweet)
3 pieces of parchment paper folded in half
In case you aren't familiar with them, these are the cipollini onions, before slicing...

This recipe can be increased on decreased based on the number of packages you want to prepare.


Prepare the parchment paper squares, making sure to start with a large enough piece to wrap the vegetables and chicken while leaving space for the steam (about 15"x15").  Heart shaped papillote next time.

Trim excess fat from the chicken and pound it with a mallet between two pieces of saran wrap, making the breast the same thickness all the way around.
Drizzle olive oil over the breasts and sprinkle them with Herbs de Provence. 

Wrap the packages and put it into the fridge to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Build your packets by opening the folded parchment paper and placing your ingredients on one side of the fold.  I started with 2 slices of lemon, then layer 1/3 of the asparagus spears (alternate the tips), then the onions drizzled with olive oil. 
Then layer 1 chicken breast, covered with the mushrooms and top with more onions. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt & pepper to taste.

Now close the packets...not hard to do but it takes practice to make them look pretty...I'm sure the heart shaped paper would help with the aesthetics of the package. Starting at one corner of the parchment, seal the packets by double folding the edge, pressing the seams well, and overlapping the folds as you work around the packet.  Be sure to create a tight seal. I was afraid the packets were too loose, but these worked perfectly with no leaks.

Place the packets on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 35 - 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.  If you make 2 cutlets out of 1 breast, your cooking time would decrease to 20 minutes or so; you could even increase the temperature to 425 and cook for 15 minutes, which is what I would do if cooking a piece of fish.

Once baked, you can serve by cutting one end of the package and sliding the food onto the dish, or you can cut an "X" in the top of the packet and serve in the paper.  I chose to remove the parchment.
The chicken was moist and infused with the flavors of the asparagus, mushrooms and onions, and there were wonderful juices filling the bottom of the papillote.  The lemon did create a very bold addition to it all, I would either use just one slice or eliminate it all together.

I will definitely be using this en papillote method for cooking in the future.  Not only is everything juicy, tender and busting with flavor, but clean up is easy too!  Have you ever cooked en papillote?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Do you cut your parchment into a heart?

For more interesting recipes, visit The Prairie Homestead, A Bright and Beautiful Life, and Flour Me With Love.  

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Susie Swanson said...

Looks more and more yummy in every photo. Thanks for the recipe. I wonder if it could be made without the mushrooms. We don't care for them much. Hugs.

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

That looks delicious !!! But also a lot of work . I've never made or eaten one.

Lise said...

Susie, the beauty of this recipe is you can make the combination almost anything you want! Hugs

Patti, it really isn't that much work, especially when you figure it's easy clean up!

Dad/Pepere said...

Sounds like I will have to try it...never cooked that way before...sounds interesting and very good. I have eaten fish that way in restaurants...now it is time to try that cooking style at home. Hugs!

Powell River Books said...

I've never tried this technique before. Not sure it would work well at the cabin on the BBQ (just kidding). - Margy

Lise said...

Dad, the prep takes time but it's really easy and so good. Worth the effort! Hugs back.

You could always do the same thing with tin foil on the grill Margy:)