This week I am hosting The Food Matters Project, and I chose this recipe because it is REALLY easy and can be altered in so many creative ways! You can have dinner ready in less than an hour and very few dishes to do. All you need is a bunch of vegetables, some chicken, fresh herbs and spices, some wine and aluminum foil! I changed around the recipe a bit to fit my tastes, and I’m sure you can find many great variations of the recipe here. You can add nearly any fresh herbs you have on hand (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) and any vegetable that can be roasted. Roasted vegetables are a staple in our house and we always add a lot of garlic to roast along with them. A few notes to keep in mind with the chicken – use bone-in meat for extra flavor and to help the meat retain its juiciness. Also, I decided to brown the meat beforehand in a pan before adding it to the packet. This improves the texture of the skin and adds even more depth of flavor. The original ingredients from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook is pasted below. Give this dinner a try and tell me what veggies and herbs you used!
Check out the other Food Matters participants recipes here!
Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets (Serves 2)
1 Chinese Eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 handfuls of heirloom cherry tomatoes
4-6 small potatoes (fingerling, red, or Yukon)
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1 small garlic bulb, top cut off
1 big handful of fresh oregano, chopped
4 thyme sprigs
2 chicken drumsticks
salt and pepper
Dry Vermouth (or dry white wine)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and fennel seed. If time allows, sprinkle the eggplant liberally with salt, let rest in a colander for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour, rinse, and pat dry.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a skillet at medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken skin side down and allow to brown for 4 minutes.
3. Cut parchment paper or foil into 2 rectangles of about 16 by 12 inches, fold in half crosswise to crease, then open again like a book. On one half of each rectangle, layer a portion of half the vegetables, keeping them close to the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with the chopped fresh herbs. Add a piece of chicken and sprinkle again. Drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon or olive oil and a few tablespoons of vermouth. Seal the packages by enclosing the filling and rolling the open edges together tightly. Transfer the packages to a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Bake the packages undisturbed until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the vegetables are silky and tender, about 35 minutes. (You won’t know for sure until you open one, but it is unlikely that the dish won’t be done in that time.) Be careful of the steam when you open the packages. Serve immediately or at room temperature, in the packages, or transferred to plates, with the juices poured over all.
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into equal 1/4 inch slices
8 ounces all-purpose potatoes, like Yukon Gold, slices 1/4 inch thick
2 small zucchini, slice 1/4 thick
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup black or green olives, pitted
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine or water