Saturday, 23 October 2010

Chicken parcels

The basic idea behind this recipe is that the chicken cooks in its own steam so is very tender and juicy, and the flavourings both infuse the chicken itself and mix with the juices to make a small amount of sauce. The photo shows Thai green curry chicken but the flavour combinations are endless - see the notes below. Great for serving up everyone's favourites while catering to different tastes!

Makes: As many servings as you wish, just use a chicken breast per person
Takes: 5 minutes + 30 minutes cooking time


1 chicken breast
Any flavourings you wish, see below

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/fan oven 180oC.
  2. Cut a piece of foil about 12" square and lightly oil or butter the centre of it. Place the chicken breast onto the foil and add the other ingredients.
  3. Bring the edges of the foil together and scrunch to seal, trapping air inside the parcel to allow the chicken to steam. Place the parcel into a roasting tin and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the parcel to a plate, add potatoes or rice and vegetables, and allow each diner to open his or her own parcel - being careful of the steam! The juices that collect can be poured over the chicken and rice or potatoes as a sauce.
There are so many variations on this theme. A really simple flavour would be lemon juice and fresh herbs - sprinkle a tablespoon or so of lemon juice over the chicken then add some chopped parsley, for example. The photo above shows Thai green curry chicken, which I made by spreading the chicken breast with Thai green curry paste then adding 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and some chopped coriander. You can use a little tomato puree and some grated cheese for 'pizza' chicken, or try butter, finely chopped garlic and sliced mushrooms. Or keep it very simple by adding a little chicken stock to each parcel.

Just one word of warning - you may need to allow longer if cooking several of these at once. Check by carefully opening one of the parcels and sticking a sharp knife into the thickest part of the breast to check that the inside is no longer pink and the juices are clear.

You can also cook fillets of fish this way, though they would only need about 20 minutes in the oven.