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FOOD & RECIPES / Healthy Recipes

En papillote: A healthy way to cook

Bring this tasty French tradition to your table

From SheKnows Canada
Chances are you know what to do with aluminum foil, plastic wrap and waxed paper, but how often do you use parchment paper in your day-to-day cooking? We're guessing not nearly enough! That's why we're sharing some tips on how you can make this super-simple and healthy gourmet cooking style work for you.

en papillote cooking dessert

Why en papillote?

You've likely heard of the health benefits of steaming foods. By using water rather than oil or butter to cook your meal, you save on calories and fat. But plain steaming can sacrifice some of the flavour. That's where this gourmet, French style of cooking comes in handy! En papillote is French for "in parchment," and it's a very healthy and flavourful way to cook. Cooking in parchment infuses meat and vegetables with delicious herbs and spices and captures flavours that might be lost with other forms of cooking.

chili grilled halibut

Is it easy to do?

Many people are turned off by the en papillote method because it seems like too much work. Folding the parchment paper into a bag is the most challenging part of the process. Fortunately, however, Paper Chef has come up with ready-to-use culinary parchment cooking bags, so you can have an easy, mess-free meal on the table in no time. Plus, unlike aluminum foil, the bags are biodegradable, so you can feel good about the choice. There's no reason to not try out this simple and delicious cooking method!

How to do it

You may be holding off on trying out this exciting new method because you think it will be too complicated. But we assure you it's quite the opposite! Here's a basic breakdown of how you can cook all your favourite dishes in this easy, flavourful way.

  1. Season your meat and/or vegetables with herbs or spices of your choosing.
  2. Place the food items in the parchment bag, and add a sprinkling of any ingredients you would like to infuse them with, such as vinegar, butter, wine or oil.
  3. Place the bag in the preheated oven.
  4. When the food is cooked, transfer the bag from the oven to a plate. It's a refined and attractive new way to display your meal.

Your friends and family wil be super impressed by your gourmet style of cooking — and they never have to know how easy it really was!

Recipes to get you started

Parchment bags can be used for a wide variety of dishes. If you want to try something traditional to start, check out this herb mustard chicken recipe. Or if you're ready for something with more of a kick, try a chili garlic halibut en papillote. And it isn't just main dishes that can be made in this fashion! For a new and attractive side dish, throw together these honeyed heirloom carrots. There's no good reason not to enjoy healthy and flavourful meals when it's this easy!

herb mustard chicken

Sweet treats too!

Now that you have a super-healthy, steamed dinner on the table, it's time to enjoy an equally tasty dessert, and parchment bags can help you out in that department too! An apple cinnamon papillote with cognac and red currants is a fruity and refreshing way to end off your meal. Or if you need something sweet and salty while you watch a movie after dinner, you can throw together some chocolate and sea salt popcorn in a flash. Even desserts can be healthy when parchment bags are involved!

paper chef popcorn

More on healthy cooking

What's the healthiest oil to cook with?
6 Healthy cooking staples
Healthy meals for picky eaters

Photo credits: Paper Chef
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