Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks are all wrapped up

Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

OK, so it’s not necessarily a new technique, but its definitely one worth being reminded of – especially in the summer months when cooking light is a huge priority. And in the winter months for, really, the same reason. When cooking ‘en papillote’ no oil is required – it’s a great way to serve up a dish that is quite impressive, incredibly flavorful, easy, and relatively healthy (depending on what you put inside that papillote, right?)

For our version, we took inspiration from a gorgeous cluster of maitake mushrooms at the farmer’s market.

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These mushrooms are also called ‘Hen of the Woods’, so of course our thoughts ran to pairing them with chicken. We loosely followed a similar recipe by Jamie Oliver to be sure of cooking times.

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We added a bit of white wine, herbs, salt and pepper and fresh thyme and sealed them up in two separate parcels.

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And baked for 25 minutes at 425 F. The only downside of cooking en papillote is that it’s not so easy to poke and prod your dish to test whether it’s done yet. On the upside (there is always an upside!), food cooked this way stays very moist so as long as you don’t go completely crazy, it’s pretty fault tolerant – you might cook the item a bit longer than you might have otherwise, because if you open up the parcel and it’s still raw, you’re going to have to dirty a pan to finish cooking. (bonus upside: your baking tray emerges virtually spotless when cooking en papillote!)

Plate your parcels then slice open for a dramatic presentation guaranteed to elicit oohs and ahhs from your guests. DC_parchment 015