March 04, 2007

Lemon - Herb Chicken Breasts en Papillote

Last Wednesday, I forgot to take the chicken out to thaw. (Actually, I forgot to take it out on Tuesday, we were supposed to eat it on Wednesday.) But I did have some of those frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and those can be defrosted in the microwave without much fuss. So I tried to think of some way to fix them that we a) had the ingredients for, and b) haven't done a million times already.
Looking around the kitchen, we had some herbs, we always have onions and garlic lying about, and I happened to have a lemon that I meant to use for something or other but never got one or more of the ingredients for whatever it was. Now I love lemon-pepper chicken, or lemon-pepper fish, but the rest of the clan aren't quite the pepper-heads that I am. So I figured lemon-herb, and I've been meaning to try this en papillote method for a while.
En Papillote just means it's cooked in parchment paper. A couple sites I visited said you can also use foil, but I'm not crazy about the idea. Especially when you're using citrus, or any other acidic ingredient. Cooking the meat in paper's supposed to keep all the juices in, so the meat doesn't dry out, and what better to test that with than white-meat chicken?
Well, I want to tell you all, that was some of the juiciest chicken I've ever had. And the presentation is wonderful as well. Everyone gets their own little gift-wrapped dinner, and when you open the paper, the aromas waft up and fill the room with that lemony-herby smell. (mmmm)
I'm going to attempt to explain how I did this, but there's an excellent site that shows the procedure with pictures at e-how.

Mix together some rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory. (I used dried herbs)
Dice one onion, and toss some of those herbs in with it.
Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic, and toss them in with the onions and herbs.
Slice a lemon, so you can put 1-2 slices on each piece of chicken. (depending on the size)

Take an (approx.) 18 inch piece of parchment, and fold it in half. Cut a half a valentine shape, large enough to leave a one-inch margin around the chicken breast.
Open the paper, and brush it with olive oil, leaving about an inch margin all around.
Take one piece of chicken, and sprinkle some kosher salt on each side, and a little fresh ground pepper on each side, then sprinkle some of the herbs on each side.
Put a slice of lemon on top, and then a little of the onion-herb-garlic mixture.
Lay it on one side of the valentine. Bring the other side over, so the edges meet.
Starting at the not-pointy-end, roll the edges together, crimping them now and then to seal the package. When you get down to the pointy end, give it a little twist to finish off the seal. (be careful not to tear it)
These packages can go on a baking sheet, or a roasting pan, or whatever you have that they'll fit in, and go into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
When they come out, use some tongs to carefully put one on each plate, and serve it in the paper.

I didn't get pictures of this, because honestly, it's been a crazy week, and besides, I really need to work on my photography. I meant to post a bit on my chicken gumbo, but the picture turned out so bad, you wouldn't have known what it was! I need to spend some time over at Food Blog S'cool.


mickey said...

Charles, your chicken sounds delicious, but I'm actually commenting on your previous post of crabby pretzel. I've adapted this to my own use and put it up on my blog. I, of course, credited you as the original source of inspiration. Thanks for your wonderful idea.

Charles said...

Hi mickey,

Glad you were able to use it. I can't take credit for the idea, because every restaurant around here serves them.
Had a look at your version, and I have to admit ... looks real good!
I appreciate the link too!

Mimi said...

Lemon-herb chicken is great, anyway you cook it.

Mimi, salivating