A flavorful French dish, without fuss

Posted: November 17, 2011

Dorie Greenspan came to cook in my kitchen when her new cookbook, Around My French Table, was published last fall. (See that story at www.philly.com/philly/restaurants/105368503.html.)

A prolific author who has rubbed elbows with the world's best chefs, Greenspan is also among the most gracious and humble people I've ever met.

Most important, I love her recipes. Her latest book, an ode to French home cooking, is chock-full of 300 of her favorites, and she details each step in clear, straightforward prose.

I've been cooking my way through her offerings, from her mustard tart to her impossibly light gougères.

And while all the recipes are carefully explained, beginners may be overwhelmed by some of them, just in terms of the number of steps and the time they take.

The one I have chosen here is not one of those. For my daughter, Sally, for our learning-to-cook blog, I selected Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas en Papillote. Even though the result is impressive, the recipe is so easy that the most inexperienced of cooks can pull it off.

I baked mine in parchment because I had it on hand, but aluminum foil works just as well. And if you buy sliced chicken tenders instead of boneless chicken breasts, the recipe is truly foolproof.

So thank you, Dorie, for another great recipe. I hope one day my daughter will work her way through your entire cookbook.

Curried Chicken, Peppers, and Peas en Papillote

Makes 4 servings

1 pound chicken tenders, or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably organic, cut  into strips

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder, to taste

12 thin slices red onion

½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut four 12-inch squares of nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Have a baking sheet at hand.

3. Put the chicken, olive oil, and curry powder in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir until the curry powder has evenly colored the chicken. Add the vegetables and stir again.

4. Spoon an equal amount of the mix onto the center of each piece of foil. Draw up the edges of the foil and seal the packets well, but don't crimp the foil very close to the chicken - you want to leave room around the ingredients so they can steam. Put the packets on the baking sheet. (You can assemble the packets up to 4 hours ahead of time and refrigerate; if you do, bake for a few more minutes.)

5. Bake the papillotes for 17 to 20 minutes, or a few minutes longer, until the chicken is cooked through - carefully open a packet and cut into a piece of chicken to test.

6. Serve the papillotes immediately, bringing them to the table straight from the oven or opening them in the kitchen and arranging the chicken and vegetables on individual plates.

- Adapted from Around My French Table,

by Dorie Greenspan

Per serving: 301 calories, 35 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams sugar, 13 grams fat, 101 milligrams cholesterol, 146 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Contact food editor Maureen Fitzgerald at 215-854-5744 or mfitzgerald@phillynews.com. Follow her blog at www.philly.com/mydaughter; on Twitter: @mydaughterskit.

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