February 08, 2010

En Papillote - What Does it Mean?

How do you meld one's love of art, food, and nature into a simple blog, especially the title? It's not hard when a favorite French cooking technique translates into cooking "in parchment" (or paper). En papillote is a classic method of cooking, where, usually fish or chicken is sealed in parchment paper or foil, with the addition of herbs and broth, and steamed inside the paper vessel.

And paper - do I love paper. You might say I'm addicted to it! I love to alter it in any way I can. I will be sharing my own techniques for projects I'm working on along with new products I'm trying. You'll see glimpses into my studio, my garden, and my kitchen.....all threads of my life woven into what I hope is as exciting for you as it is for me.

I want to share a lovely recipe for cooking en papillote with a Moroccan twist. It's adapted from Martha Stewart, one of my life mentors, who never fails to amaze me and always teaches how to live life to its fullest.

Moroccan Chicken "Tagine" En Papillote

Serves 4

2 sticks carrot - peeled, halved lengthwise, cut in 1/2" slices
1 cup canned chickpeas - rinsed and drained
1 small onion - chopped
1/2 cup raisins

1 tbsp. fresh ginger - peeled and grated

2 clovcs garlic - minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. extra virgin olivc oil
2 tsp. Kosher salt - more if needed
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper - more if needed
1/8 tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. ground cumin
pinch cinnamon
4 large chicken thighs without skin - bone in, or 8 skinless drumsticks

1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine carrots,chickpeas, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, and olive oil. Toss to coat.

In another large bowl, combine salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. Add chicken pieces and rub in to coat.

Cut and have ready, four 12 x 17" sheets of parchment. Lay a sheet on a work surface. Place one quarter of the vegetable mixture in center of parchment sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tbsp. chicken stock over vegetables. Place a chicken thigh over vegetables. Seal packet by bringing edges of parchment together to make a 1 inch fold. Crease. Keep folding and creasing along the edges. Repeat with remaining ingredients and 3 sheets of parchment.

Transfer packets to a baking sheet. Bake until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 75 minutes. To serve, carefully cut open each packet and remove thyme sprigs. Serve over couscous or basmati rice.
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