Saturday, 10 November 2012

It's in all of the Papers...

Pollo in Cartoccio con Okra, Pomodorini & Timo
Chicken Parcel with Okra, Tomato & Thyme

I know I shouldn't be surprised when I wake up to torrential rain every day- after all, I do live in Frankfurt... but it really is a pity not seeing a little blue sky now and again during the Winter months! So all that I can say is, thank heavens for our wonderful market hall here- the best indoor market far and wide!

On the positive side of things, with the weather being so cool (I just didn't want to use the word "cold" because it will make me sound as if I am complaining), at least it is now safe to buy meat and poultry there and carry it home without it spoiling... which meant wonderful, free-range and succulent chicken tonight- mmm! What a tasty treat!

The idea of cooking a meal in a parcel made from grease-proof paper or foil is not a new one, and the effect of sealing in all of the aromas and of using the trapped-in steam is not revolutionary... but it is still a wonderful and fun way to make supper!

In this case, the whole of the meal was not prepared in the bag, but the individual servings were made that way and that is what makes it a fun, practical and novel way of getting everything plated together- let me just explain what I mean...

It may sound strange, but I began by steaming the whole chicken leg for 6-7 minutes, with a few sprigs of thyme and a few slices of garlic... this gives the chicken a head-start on cooking time, allows some of the fat in the skin to melt away and also for it to take up some good flavor from the get-go. Once the chicken was steamed, I drizzled it with a splash of orange juice, sprinkled it with a little paprika, seasoned it with salt and pepper and popped it into the oven at 300°F for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, I steamed the okra for 4-5 minutes and chopped some Spring onion in advance, as well as a few cherry tomatoes, ready to use in a few minutes time!

After 15 minutes, the chicken was almost cooked- time to add a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of my seasoned salt- with rosemary, fennel seed, cumin and a hint of clove and to turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes to give it a lovely glaze... mmm!

Once the chicken was looking delicious, I set it to one side and tossed the okra, onion, tomato slices and more thyme into the chicken juices, then spooned them onto a sheet of grease-proof paper. I set the chicken on top and gave it a light dash of Cointreau (which you might leave out if you are cooking for children),folded it over so that it was closed and rolled up the sides tightly so that no steam could escape- then popped it back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. And that was all there was to it!

Dear readers- let me tell you that the wonderful aroma that came out of that parcel was simply out of this world! The chicken was juicy, the vegetables were full of flavor from the juices and it was just a fun and delightful way to enjoy such a simple meal! Give it a try- you are going to enjoy it... hopefully as much as I did!

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