Curried Chicken en Papillote

A Food Revolution! French Fridays with DorieCurried Chicken en Papillote

Curried Chicken en Papillote should hardly be considered a revolutionary act. But then neither should being able to feed yourself. Sadly, the latter now seems to be. Or at least so says none other than Jamie Oliver, who has taken it upon himself to start a global campaign purposed with reinstating food curriculum in our youth’s schools. To that end, today is his fourth annual Food Revolution Day intended to engage and inspire young people to learn about food and how to cook it.

It kind of blows my mind that a kid today could grow up without learning the basic life skill of knowing how to cook a healthy meal for themselves. If this particular food blog is about anything, it is about the how the generational continuity and sharing of food and its preparation has storied my entire life. So it just goes to say that if a kid doesn’t know how to cook for himself he or she will grow into a parent that can’t teach that same skill. How sad is that?

food revolutionIt has been something of an annual tradition for my Dorista pals and I to participate in Food Revolution Day. We typically do this by exploring a recipe or technique either gleaned or further perfected by means of our participation in the French Fridays with Dorie cooking project. I mean, it is not all souffle-making and pastry here folks. We often tackle things basic and easily mastered — any one of them just might be that “must know” recipe with the potential to set some young person off on a lifetime culinary journey.

This year I have selected “en papillote” and this Curried Chicken en Papillote to present for Food Revolution Day. Not only is en papillote one easy cooking method but also it is something easily shared with kids. The meal is cooked by putting all of the ingredients into a folded pouch made of parchment or foil and then baking it. The parcel steams the food in its moisture (although you can add wine, stock, etc.) and cooks it all up to perfection, infusing it with whatever flavors you have added. The fact that the method requires very little (if any) fat to cook means it also a healthy way to cook. When the packets are taken to the table, and everyone opens them up to free the aroma and the steam, this moment of showmanship is sure to win over anyone.

Curried Chicken en Papillote

I first cooked this way back when I was 13 years old and going on weekend camping trips with the Boy Scouts. The Dorista’s first experience with en papillote was back in July of 2011 when we made Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote. It is a simple preparation for salmon, infusing it with lemon, basil and thyme and allows you cook the veggies right along with it. The salmon bore little resemblance to the foil packets of plainly seasoned hamburger and onions the Boy Scout Handbook had taught us cook on the flames during camp outs.

If only I had experienced my Food Revolution moment with a little help from Dorie Greenspan.

Curried Chicken en Papillote with Peppers & Peas

Curried Chicken en Papillote with Peppers & Peas

This is what you will need:

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, preferably organic, at room temperature
  • 12 thin slices red onion, halved
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

This is how you make it:

  1. Center rack in oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut four 12-inch squares of nonstick aluminum foil. Have a baking sheet at hand.
  2. Cut chicken into long strips and then cut strips crosswise in half. Put chicken and all other ingredients in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper, and stir until curry powder has evenly colored chicken and vegetables. Spoon an equal amount of mix onto center of each piece of foil. Draw up edges of foil and seal packets well, but don’t crimp foil very close to chicken — you want to leave room around ingredients so they can steam.
  3. Bake the papillotes for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through — carefully open a packet and cut into a piece of chicken to test.
  4. Serve the packets 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.


Food Revolution Day brings out the adventurous writer in me.  The guy out in the world looking for cooking inspiration!  This chicken curry dish represents a great “fusion” of flavors with a new cuisine type. This type of outside the box thinking is a great way to start if looking to shake up your culinary horizons and try new flavors. If this type of thing excites you please check out this Though Leader piece I wrote for the Cilantro Cooks online shop and featuring my recipe for Spicy Korean Tofu Tacos.   

And now that summer is officially here we are all thinking about taking our cooking outside.  Did you know I’m a Thought Leader on this important cooking topic too? I am! Check out my recent piece at FoodyDirect with some great tips for taking your outdoor grilling up a notch. Grilling Goes Gourmet! 


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. I wish my boys learned to cook en papillote in Boy Scouts—their camping stories seemed to focus more on pranks and awful dishes (always made by the same scout who thought he could cook) than anything that could be translated to cooking at home. They have become experts with their George Foreman grills–I guess that’s something! Your chicken looks irresistible!!

    • We created some really awful meals in Boy Scouts Liz. For some reason we always tried to make spaghetti even though it was impossible to boil water hot enough for the task. Blech. Why didn’t we think to premake the pasta at home? Again, if I knew then what I know now…

  2. Mary Hirsch says:

    When you think about it, most of us have experienced wrapping something, usually a hamburger, topped with potato slices, in tinfoil and cooking it outside over a fire or on a grill. That should have been all of our introduction to en Papillote. A great send-off to a life of personal (and, hopefully) healthy cooking. But, that apparently is not the way the world turns. Unfortunately, most parents don’t seem to feel it’s necessary to take the time to teach their kids the magic of the kitchen. With two parents working, fast food or processed food is the norm. Too bad.

  3. En papilotte is such a delicious easy way to cook. I discovered it from Jamie himself! It is sad that there can be generational lack of knowledge on how to cook.

  4. Summer is the perfect time to cook en papilotte…great for the grill! It makes dinner so easy, with no clean up! Now this is a technique I mastered with Dories help! Your curried chicken looks mouthwatering! Happy Friday, Trevor!

  5. Stuff inside of foil or parchment is one of the easiest meals…ever…assuming you know how to operate a heat source.

    I can’t wait to see the day that Uncle Trevor has his niece whipping up something sassy in the kitchen.

  6. En papillote is certainly an excellent technique from Dorie that I have learned that can be applied to so many dishes! Well done and thanks for taking part this year!

  7. “…neither should being able to feed yourself.” Perfectly stated intro. Love it! Amy

  8. I loved all of Dorie’s en papillote cooking recipes. Simple, tasty, and no cleanup. Works for me.
    Great post, great photos, and happy to see you participating again. Missed your blog.

  9. I suffered through those same awful foil dinners in the Girl Guides – what is it about the Scouting movement that encourages wonderful outdoor explorations fueled by execrable food? Dorie’s en papillote recipes should be added to the Scouting handbook – actually, they should base a badge around her techniques!

    I’m glad that my mother cooked from scratch and shared her skills with my brother and me (my sister had NO interest in cooking when we were kids). It gives me hope to think that better food education in schools can fill the gap for families who have lost their foodways.

  10. I chuckled a bit about the hamburger and onion in a foil packet bit. Then again, when you’re camping, things taste a lot better than they normally would, for whatever reason. I think the curried chicken en papillote was my favorite of those recipes in AmFT! Something about that particular combination is really tasty and works great! On the sadder side, it is troublesome that some people never learned about and have absolutely no interest in cooking. I’ve also run across a number of people who simply aren’t really into food…that whole eat to live instead of live to eat thing, I guess.

  11. TheKitchenLioness says:

    Trevor, beautiful Chicken-en-Papilotte – a recipe I have not prepared in a while but thank you for reminding me to make it again soon – breathtaking photography and many important points made about the rampant lack of food education and/or the understanding thereof.

  12. I have enjoyed all the en papilotte recipes I have made in FFWD. I should look and see if I have missed any since I clearly have not finished the book. I have those same scouting memories from the girl scouts. We often talked of my mom, a former girl scout, and her ability to pull off Thanksgiving dinner with a bun-sin burner. Now I have Dorie to learn from.

  13. Definitely sad to think of kids who don’t see either parent cook at home and that does happen way too often. Often it’s a frozen something tossed into the oven with some frozen fries and that’s dinner.

    I watched my mother cook from scratch every day and my kids watched their mother cook from scratch every day. I’m not sure my grandchildren have that same situation.

    I love cooking en papillote – I can toss away the cooking vessel before enjoying this wonderful curry.