Greek Chicken En Papillote
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare a sheet of parchment paper (1 for each chicken breast) to be able to fold over your chicken breast plus a couple of inches on each side. Brush the top of the parchment with olive oil.
Layer spinach and a couple of slices of lemon on one side of the parchment.
Add chicken breast and squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over it from the remaining pieces of lemon.
Sprinkle with the seasonings.
Top chicken breast with tomato slices, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
Fold parchment over the chicken ingredients to form an envelope.
Starting at one end, make a fold at an angle and continue around the outside like you’re twisting a rope to fold the edges of the paper.
Place packets on a sheet pan and then into the oven.
Cook about 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Note: this recipe can easily be made as a single serving, or increased for a family. You can use aluminum foil around the chicken instead for cooking on the grill. Using the parchment on a grill will catch fire.
Chicken and turkey are popular for being high in protein and low in saturated fats making a mealtime staple for athletes as well as in many healthy eating households. Falling back on the same old recipes starts to become mundane and a little too routine. Finding new ways to cook up the standard bird and keep it interesting (and keep your taste buds dancing) is time-consuming but in this series of recipes, I will highlight many different ways to prepare your poultry so your meal rotation is anything but boring. So whaddya say? Let’s play chicken!
Cooking en papillote is a French method of cooking that is perfect for lean proteins like chicken or fish. En papillote simply means to cook “in a packet.” This packet can be either parchment paper or aluminum foil depending on where you’ll be cooking your items. For the oven, I use parchment paper, but if I wish to cook on the grill, it needs to be foil because the paper will burn. Why cook things in a packet? Cooking protein in a packet helps keep lean meats from drying out in the cooking process. It also melds all of the flavors together while the ingredients get nice steam.
To begin your packet, tear off enough parchment paper to hold all of your ingredients plus a few inches around the edge. Lightly oil the inside of the paper with olive oil or coconut oil to prevent sticking. You can cook any vegetables or ingredients within your packet just note that if you add firm vegetables, like carrots, you’ll want to shred them first so they cook in the same amount of time as other ingredients.
Begin building your stack of ingredients on one side of the parchment barely past the halfway mark on your paper since you’ll be folding it over to make a packet. First up in the assembly is to add a base layer. Adding a layer beneath the chicken insulates the protein and allows for even cooking and flavor on all sides. In this recipe, I layered the base with spinach and lemon slices. Next, lay the chicken breast on top and add any other ingredients and seasonings. Be careful not to crowd the packet so all of the ingredients are able to be cooked through and it doesn’t get soggy. You’ll want to use just a sprinkle of a wet ingredient like vinegar, lemon, or olive oil to provide a touch of moisture for steaming.
Use a twist and fold motion to seal the packet. It won’t be super tight and that’s okay. Leave enough room for the air to expand and steam. The packets should puff up when they cook and the parchment will be lightly browned when the meal is done cooking. Be careful when opening the packets as the steam will be quite hot.
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