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Daring En Papillote: putting dinner in the bag

Do you believe art imitates life, or life imitates art?

I love to cook and have always fantasized about entering a cooking competition, not a reality TV show or anything like that, something more grassroots, like the Australian Country Women’s Association’s (CWA) Annual “Land of Cookery” Contest;  you can compete in several categories, including jams & preserves, cakes, cake decoration etc.  The entries are judged by a panel of highly experienced country cooks, and winners get an honourable mention, a ribbon, and a modest monetary prize.

After watching one of my most recent favourite films “Julie & Julia“, I felt highly motivated to cook with a challenge, and hopefully find some inspiration to increase my repertoire of ‘go to’ dishes.  It was unlikely that I was going to compete in the CWA’s “Land of Cookery” Contest, but there is another alternative,  “Julie & Julia” has inspired the creation of several virtual clubs for cooking and baking, like-minded people connecting via cyberspace to cook with a challenge, and then share the results, be they good, bad or indifferent.

I did a bit of research and looked around at the many virtual clubs for cooking challenges, I decided to join the Daring Kitchen.  The Daring Kitchen, has two groups the ‘Daring Cooks’ and the ‘Daring Bakers’, because I love a challenge I signed up for both (in hindsight one might have been enough!).

There are a few rules, but all-in-all it’s really about having a go, creating the selected recipe of the month and then sharing your effort, and of course the most important part, the fun and fellowship of supporting each others cooking adventures (or mis-adventures – doh!).

Cue the challenge this month, our Daring Cooks’ host is Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie; Sarah has challenged us to try a cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

The secret step, which I gleaned from a friend is to pre-heat a baking tray, so the papillote goes into the oven on a hot tray, when it comes out of the oven, it is all puffed up and ready to serve, the aroma is wonderful.

To create the parchment parcel, all you need to do is fold over your parchment paper and cut out a heart shape, then once all the ingredients are placed in side, gently and firmly tuck over the ends, ensuring they will stay firmly sealed during the baking process.

Chicken in a Bag : My Way:

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast;
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of Passata”  (I used my home-made tomato soup as a substitute)
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 corn on the cob, cooked and trimmed of the cob
  • 1 pinch of grated pepper
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 -8 snow peas
  • 1/2 cup of couscous
  • fresh herbs of your choice
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Method:

Trim the chicken breast into two equal pieces, rub in lemon rind, 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, salt, and fresh herbs, marinate over night.

Cook the couscous, according to the directions on the packet.

Heat up a frying pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil, lightly brown the chicken breast.  Remove the chicken breast from the pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil, finely chopped onion and garlic and cook until translucent, add couscous and stir fry, add passata, corn and stir fry for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Place the couscous, chicken breast into the papillote, layer cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley and snow peas on top.  Seal papillote, place on a hot baking tray and cook in a moderate to hot oven for 20 minutes.

Makes two small entrée sized serves, to increase proportion or serves just add more!  I served mine with a squeeze of lemon and a garnish of finely chopped shallot to add some texture and crunch.

The result was tasty, my couscous a bit gluggy – need to work on that!  By the way, it’s refreshing to be inspired by a film, definitely a case of life imitating art.

6 comments on “Daring En Papillote: putting dinner in the bag

  1. makeycakey
    July 15, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    This looks fantastic! I’m slightly in awe of your multiple-allergy juggling when you cook – I just have to make sure everything is dairy free, and sometimes that is hard enough! Brilliant challenge!

    • intrepidallergymum
      July 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Oh thank you for your kind words! Living with allergies has been a developing story, my son is now 5 years of age, I have learned rapidly in this time of how to keep him safe and to change the way I cook to allow him to enjoy some childhood treats and special dishes. The Daring Cooks this month – a great challenge and I really liked your post, it looked scrumptious! Can’t wait for the next one, although I have the Daring Baker’s up next!

  2. andy
    July 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    I haven’t heard of pre-heating the tray. Great idea.

    • intrepidallergymum
      July 16, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      Hi Andy, yes it’s a great tip, it just starts the cooking process straight away, it’s been a revelation and I will be using this technique more regularly ~ I am going to try salmon next!

  3. icaseyd
    July 16, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    This looks wonderful. I know how hard it is to be limited in ingredients. I have many sensitivities and have to stay away from processed food (you never know what’s in there). This is great!

    • intrepidallergymum
      July 16, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      Hi thanks for stopping by! It surprising how much you can eat on a dairy, egg, nuts, sesame, lentils and white fish, free diet! We say our son can’t eat half of the grocery store (that’s also the half that includes all the ready made biscuits, crisps, confectionary), but the other half he can eat. So we do avoid all the nasties, it takes some cooking though (a good excuse for kitchen gadgets)! That’s why I joined the Daring Kitchen, to get some more inspiration and I like the way you can substitute ingredients.

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