This fragrant, tasty chicken dinner comes with a bonus: No cleanup

By Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post - Updated: June 13, 2018 at 12:37 pm • Published: June 13, 2018 0
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If the cleanup after a weeknight meal is your least favorite part, this recipe's for you. It uses a time-honored technique employed by professional chefs and camping enthusiasts with equal aplomb: packet cooking, a.k.a. en papillote, al cartoccio, hobo packets and foil-packet dinners.

Foods enclosed in a parchment paper or foil pouch essentially steam as they bake in the oven or roast on the grill, holding in juices, flavors and aromas. To create that steam, added liquids are sparingly poured, and when the pouch is foil, some type of fat is included to keep the contents from sticking. The packets are typically done per individual serving, making them custom-order for each diner at your table without extra steps or fuss.

Start with proteins that respond nicely to poaching, such as chicken or fish or tofu, and you can add on from there. For this rendition, chicken broth, lemon slices and a touch of honey do the trick; a dry white wine could stand in for the broth. The small pile of vegetables and herbs underneath picks up flavor from the chicken on top as well. The chicken needs to be thin; pound or cut boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or buy cutlets that are ready to go.

You don't have to fold the packets any particular way, as long as you (a) leave some head space for steam, and (b) make sure they're sealed tightly. Pop them on a baking sheet, where it doesn't matter how closely they sit. When you open them, keep your face just far enough away to avoid the rush of heat but close enough to inhale the goodness.

Once the packets are emptied, you can toss them - and have only the dishes to wash.

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