If you are new to Cook Smarts, you will soon find out that we love to cook en papillote. But don’t let that fancy name scare you off!
It might sound like you should be sitting at a lovely outdoor French cafe, wine glass in hand, as you look out over the River Seine, and your server presents you with a steaming package of perfectly cooked fish and vegetables.
(That sounds absolutely wonderful, by the way.)
“I really loved every component of this, and thought everything worked well together. Can you believe I have never made anything en papillote? It was surprisingly easy and the end result was great.” -Tracey
While the name may sound fancy, cooking en papillote is a very simple and quick way to cook fish, meat, and vegetables. To sum it up, the ingredients of your choice are wrapped in parchment, the packets are popped in the oven, and the food steams in its own juices. Wrapping it in parchment seals in all the flavors, so that every single bite is satisfyingly flavorful.
We love using this cooking method for fish, such as our Tilapia Baked en Papillote with French Vinaigrette and our Asian-inspired Fish en Papillote with Shiitake Mushrooms.
This time, we are showing you that it is just as easy and delicious with chicken instead of fish, and we are infusing this dish with Mediterranean flavors. A combination of sweet red bell peppers, olives, oregano, and lemon imparts that warm climate feel to this dish, and the whole flavor combination is perfect for the summer.
“This was easy and delicious! Simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but impressive enough for guests.” -Katie
We like to enjoy these delicious chicken packets with a dollop of yogurt, refreshing cucumbers, and a side of buttery couscous. And that is what we call a perfect summer meal!
Remember to halve the chicken breasts! This makes them thinner, so that it will also cook quicker.
Here’s how to get all your prep done quickly and efficiently:
Put all your chicken packets on an inexpensive sheet pan and pop into the oven.
- Chicken breasts – 2, halved
- Parchment paper or foil – 4 18″ sheets
- Garlic powder – ½ tsp.
- Paprika – ½ tsp.
- Oregano – ½ tsp.
- Salt – ¼ tsp.
- Red peppers – 1
- Olives – 2 oz., sliced (Black or green are fine)
- Lemons – 1½, 1 – sliced, ½ – juice of
- Chicken – Halve chicken breasts. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Parchment paper or foil – Prepare 18″ wide sheets. For parchment paper, stack, fold in half, and then cut into angular heart shapes (diagram below or see video). If you’re using foil, there’s no need to do this. (Can be done ahead of time)
- Spices – Mix together garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and salt and sprinkle on both sides of chicken breast halves.
- Red peppers / Olives – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Lemons – Prep as directed.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Divide and place red pepper, chicken breast halves, olives, and lemon slices onto one half of each of your sheets of foil or parchment. Fold foil or parchment over to enclose ingredients. Crimp the edges of the foil to form a tight seal or fold the edges of the parchment. Repeat for rest of fillets. Refer to our en papillote video to see how folding is done. This could also be a fun kids activity too!
- Place packets onto a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.
- Unwrap parchment and enjoy chicken!