April 02, 2011

Is Dinner Ready Yet?

One of the things most of us feel we never have enough of (besides money) is time.  Being at work at an obscenely early hour and not returning home until 10 hours later, I rarely feel I can take a leisurely approach to dinner.

Most people say to me "I'm sure the last thing you feel like doing when you get home is cooking" and sometimes they're right,  but a girl's gotta eat...

A common misconception with people who may not have Chefs in their lives is that we come home and make seared foie gras.  Hardly...
Like teachers, fireman, etc. most chefs do it for the love of the job.  Being a chef isn't always a lucrative gig.

One thing a chef learns quickly when creating a menu is food costs.  This translates well into our own kitchens, because like i just said, we aren't all Tom Colicchio or Mario Batali with restaurant empires.

Dinner most nights needs to be quick, not terribly expensive, good for me and most of all NOT leave a mess of dishes to clean up.  If there is one chore I LOATHE it's washing dishes.

Here's one of my old favorites that fits the bill quite nicely:

En papillote is a french term that basically describes cooking something (gently) in parchment paper.  Using aluminum foil yields the same results and is much easier to work with.

This recipe is for a single serving, so multiply it by the number of people you'll be serving.  Each person gets their own little package to open.

For this you will need:
1 piece of aluminum foil,  approximately 18 inches in length
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or a filet of your favorite fish, season with salt & pepper
1 shallot, finely sliced
1/2 glass white wine
a handful of mushrooms
1 TB butter
1/4 c. frozen peas
1 sprig fresh thyme
a small baking sheet

First, fold the foil in half length-wise and fold up the two sides so that you have a "pocket". Make sure to fold sides two or three times to prevent leaks.
Lay the chicken or fish inside the pocket then add the veggies, wine, thyme sprig and butter.   Fold the top edge like the sides to seal it and gently transfer it to a baking sheet.  This is a precautionary measure in case the package does leak it will be contained.
Place baking sheet on middle rack in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
Transfer package onto plate and break open!  Dinner is ready.

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