The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
Parchment Baked Chicken
You might remember, several days ago, there was something on Facebook that popped up, out of nowhere, that really got everyone talking and excited. Supposedly, there was going to be a new Chick-Fil-A restaurant opening in New Castle! I have to admit that I too fell for it. Can we talk for a moment about how disappointed I was to find out that it was someone doing the latest TikTok trend of creating a “parody” business page to see how many people they could rope into their disillusions? I was so upset and took it as a personal challenge to get the page not only blocked but taken down! Ha! I must have messaged everyone I knew, telling them that in fact, this piece of news was too good to be true. Sure, let the kids have their fun, as they say, but do not come for me and one of my favorite chicken sandwiches! Well, I actually prefer Popeyes chicken sandwich, the classic because the spicy has too much spice for me, but Chick-Fil-A does have some of the best macaroni and cheese of any fast-food restaurant but that is a whole other column and story for another time. All this chicken talk led me to thinking about how much I love roasting chicken, without mess, in the oven with parchment paper. Not many people know about this secret trick, or so it seems, so let me share some of the details.
When I was testing recipes for both of my cookbooks, it came to my attention, through much trial and error, that the best way to cook chicken was to do so by roasting it in the oven. Poaching chicken was just a terrible mess and browning it on the stove and having it finish cooking in the oven was just extra and unnecessary steps. Roasting the chicken in the oven was not only the simplest way but produced the chicken that had the moistest and most flavorful meat. However, after roasting countless chicken breasts and thighs, I stumbled upon an even easier way to roast chicken in the oven, without the mess and splatter. Simply place the chicken in a shallow dish and cover the top with parchment paper! It not only seals in all of the juices but it also produces less mess and therefore and easier cleanup. Plus, you can lay some fresh citrus inside with the chicken, like lemons or limes and also herbs like tarragon or rosemary. Ever since stumbling upon this method, I have never roasted chicken the same way again. Be sure to use parchment paper with this recipe and not wax paper. Wax paper will catch on fire!
Parchment Baked Chicken
You can also use this method for turkey breasts and fresh shrimp. The chicken breasts in this recipe can be boneless and skinless or bone in and skin on. Feel free to experiment with the types of citrus fruits you use for each meat.
4 large chicken breasts
2 lemons, sliced thin
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking pan and rub evenly along the inside of the pan.
Place the chicken breasts into the pan and rub evenly with the remaining olive oil.
Sprinkle the chicken breasts evenly with the salt and black pepper.
Place the sliced lemon onto and around the chicken breasts.
Cut a piece of parchment paper a little bigger than the size of the pan.
Place the parchment paper over top of the chicken breasts and tuck the parchment paper snuggly around the chicken. You may tuck the parchment paper corners under the chicken breasts to help hold the parchment paper down. You want it to fit snuggly.
Bake, in preheated oven, for about 30 minutes, until the chicken registers at 165 degrees F.
Remove, let sit for about 15 minutes and then remove the parchment paper.
Carefully remove the chicken and use as desired.
Ask and Answer: Janet Godby sent me a delicious recipe for her Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocados and I just had to share it here with everyone! 1 large, or 2 small cans of tuna, drained mixed with 2 ribs of diced celery. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried basil with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 cloved of minced garlic and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Pour this mixture over the tuna. Cube 2 avocados and gently stir in the salad. Mound the salad over other avocado halves to serve. It is absolutely delicious! The flavors are wonderful, and the addition of the avocado is really fabulous!