Friday Recipe Exchange: En Papillote

tamara papillote 1
From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

So, Valentine’s Day. I’m not a fan. I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day anymore than I’m anti-New Year’s Eve. But I am of the opinion that going out to a restaurant on Valentine’s day is a recipe for disaster: so-so food and rushed service, even at the best restaurants. Instead, I like to cook – ok, I guess that’s nothing new. One of my favorite menus for the big day is here. This year I was looking for something new. I’d been thinking for a while about testing out a recipe “en papillote”, quite literally, in parchment. I thought this would make for a special dinner.

I tested out two types of parchment – the first was a parchment bag and the second was parchment lined foil. Below you’ll find detailed instructions and a couple of simple recipes.

But first, what are your plans for Valentine’s? Do you go out, do you cook and most importantly, is there chocolate?

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In any of these recipes you can use plain parchment, as well. With the parchment paper – plain or foil lined, you start by cutting it into a heart shape. I cut it at 16″ long, but it probably would have been ok at 12 inches.

I focused on chicken, but the technique is often used for fish. Kirk Spencer has a lovely stuffed fish recipe here. You can adapt any of these recipes to fish or chicken. The key is to make sure you have enough liquid and you make a tight seal in order to poach/steam the ingredients.

The recipes were pretty simple. In the parchment bag, I placed carrot and zucchini sticks, a chicken breast and drizzled with lemon butter, garlic, rosemary and sage. I added a bit of butter and lemon slices on top.

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On the parchment I put cooked rice, vegetable curls (using the vegetable peeler), chicken breast and drizzled with soy sauce and rice vinegar.

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Then fold up the edges and seal tightly. I really like the foil for this, it was easy to roll up and seal.

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While you’re putting everything together, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat a baking sheet. Place the sealed packets on the heated baking sheet. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

You can serve it on the plates in the packets or plate it up. I like having the packets.

All in all, I think I preferred the parchment with the foil back. It was as easy to deal with as the parchment bag, a bit easier to arrange the ingredients, it sealed better and I think the presentation is prettier.

tamara papillote 7

28 replies
  1. 1
    TaMara (BHF) says:


    I know it’s a picture heavy recipe this week. If you want to see full size, click here and then click on any picture to see full size.

    Now what fun do you have planned for V-Day?

  2. 2
    PurpleGirl says:

    No plans for Valentine’s Day, but if possible will be spending time on the 13th by way of the internet with a friend in L.A. We met each other at a Star Trek convention in 1976 and the 13th is our anniversary of meeting. There will be chocolate involved. (How can chocolate not be involved, it’s an important food group!)

  3. 3
    bemused says:

    There must be chocolate every day.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Working. But I don’t do V-Day. At all.

  5. 5
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Nothing on Valentine’s day but dinner and movie on the weekend.

    I wrap tilapia in foil with green chutney and a little olive oil and slices of lemon and bake it in the oven for about 15 min at 375.

    Or sometimes I will use a mix of lemon, garlic, dill and olive oil for the fish.

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    We might go out, but there will definitely be chocolate, this year from the Lake Placid Chocolatier.

  7. 7
    aangus says:


    Best guitar, EVER!

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    I cut polenta into heart shaped slices, brown and float in a marinara just for the princess.

  9. 9
    Yutsano says:

    I r also quite intrigued by this parchment-lined foil. I might have to rustle me up some.

  10. 10
    David in NY says:

    Hiding out from snow here (not up to expectations yet), so for dinner a hearty Brunswick(type) stew and wine. Waiting for dessert, tapioca pudding, to cool off. A real heartland feast. Barbara Cook singing Sondheim for accompaniment.

  11. 11
    David in NY says:

    Oh, Valentine’s Day? The other half pretends not to care — but we’ll see.

  12. 12
    General Stuck says:

    It’s been awhile, so

    Sir Charles

    Lord of the Hash

    Master of My Domain

    Sweetest doggie around, with an asshole for an owner

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @General Stuck: What a handsome pup!

    TaMara supper looks great.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    ThresherK says:

    Homemade special dessert, creme brulee this year. And the roses were a surprise two weeks ago.

    Plus one of us is doing all the snow removal for this storm.

  16. 16
    andynotadam says:

    It’s my birthday, so I generally get to call it, and generally opt to cook at home or go out on another night instead. I’m single this year, so no big deal and I’m not gonna let it get maudlin. I’ll just use the day as one of my many rationales for drinking better wine than I normally do…

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    Working and then packing. Early flight on Friday to go see the kid’s first college performances. Also have to help him prepare his first tax return.

  18. 18
    Schlemizel says:

    This year the UofM has senior night for the womens hockey team on the 14th (great planning guys!). So thats where we will be.

    Often we go to one of a few places we know will provide exceptional service and food. Yes, it is not cheap but its a once a year splurge that we enjoy.

    Because I was trained from age 6 to cook I am responsible for special meals. For Valentines Day I have made steak diane, paella, individual beef wellingtons, shrimp mousse/spinach mousse stuffed salmon & some other elaborate things. Desert is usually chocolate mousse as its Mrs fav. One year I made Julia Childs bombe aux trois chocolats (which IS the bomb but deadly, so good but sooo rich)

    If you know someone who loves chocolate and you want to blow them away I can’t recommend that bombe highly enough. It takes some time to assemble but nobody will complain they didn’t get enough, though they will complain thay can’t eat as much as they want!

  19. 19
    Schlemizel says:

    Forgot to mention – your pictures make that look really good. I have wanted to try this method but just never have. I have a couple of recipes that sound good too; maybe for the better half’s bday.

    Have you ever made a dinner in a ‘beggars purse’? I want to try that some time too

  20. 20
    Aji says:

    [Whew] I was expecting the site to be down still.

    Yes, there must always be chocolate. But that’s not a Valentine’s Day thing. Beyond that . . . ehhhh.

    Question: I have not used the parchment technique before. Is there any significant difference – e.g., in the texture of the food, etc., – compared to using, say, plain old foil? I guess I’m just wondering whether we’re missing out on something major by having only used foil in the past.

  21. 21
    John Weiss says:

    At she Weiss house, every day is Valentine’s day.

  22. 22
    jayjaybear says:

    My partner, the cook, recently discovered the foil-backed parchment and he LOVES it! He keeps finding new things to do with it.

  23. 23
    Redshift says:

    The Ms. and I will be continuing our tradition of going to a Valentine’s burlesque show. She’s recovering from bronchitis and I’m still unemployed, so spirits may not be as high as some years, but we’d already bought the tickets and it will still be fun.

  24. 24
    chopper says:

    really, this method is best for fish. especially salmon, as it keeps the ever-pervasive salmon smell out of the kitchen and thus the house.

    i usually just top it with compound butter and some quickly-sauteed julienned carrots and parsnips.

    a tip tho, for salmon; cook at slowly and at a low temperature. you won’t get the egg-white looking stuff.

  25. 25
    poptartacus says:

    i used to send flowers, now i send meat.

  26. 26
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Planning on grabbing dinner/beers at our favorite English Pub. It’s more of a drinking hang then a swanky meal kinda place, so we’re pretty sure there won’t be much more people there on account of V-day.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    I do something like this with phyllo dough. It can be a savoury or sweet dish, depending on contents, but my big, sloppy go-to method for a several days long dish is what I call dirty laundry pie. I cook chicken thighs down with broth, seasonings that reflect whatever matching vegetable I’m cooking (french if I have onions and asparagus, american poultry for a bag of frozen mixed veg, curry and lemon grass for fresh green onions, mushrooms and spinach), until it’s fall off the bone tender. The veggies, depending on the type, I cook separately. I make a bechamel, mix the shredded chicken and veg in a bowl, then I set up squares of layers of phyllo, fill them, wrap them like wadded up dirty laundry, place on baking pan and bake until golden brown. If I’m super lazy, I can make big one that you have to cut like a pie, otherwise, they’re cool handheld pocket pies. I also can do one with cream cheese, cottage cheese, honey and fresh fruit.

    I think for valentines, since I have these left over cinnamon candy canes, I’m going to make a mexican chocolate scone with cinnamon chips in them. Just have to smash these canes into oblivion, which is surprisingly easy, since they shattered when I dropped them.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    We go out to brunch on the weekend before or after Valentine’s Day as our tradition rather than fighting the crowds to go to dinner on the day itself. We’ll do that next weekend since G’s family only just flew back to Chicago today.

    I’m a big fan of en papillote — even the leanest chicken breast turns out tender and delicious.

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