Before I realized what cooking during a pandemic would be like, I bought a REALLY BIG bag of frozen chicken breast at Costco. Usually, I cook with whole chicken or bone-in pieces. I decided I could always whip out the chicken breasts for the Memorial Day barbecue. I am now pretty sure isn’t going to happen.
It turns out, the best thing about frozen chicken breast is that they DON’T NEED TO BE DEFROSTED before cooking. I’ve thrown them right from the package onto a lightly oiled the pan, slathered them in barbecue sauce and roasted them and this week I cooked them in a tin foil packet in the oven.
Bags (or packets) cook their contents with steam. Sound familiar? Protein, vegetables, herbs, plus a little cooking liquid all go in together, so there’s a meal in one cute package. You can use foil or parchment paper to make the bag.
I used this recipe from Jamie Oliver as a guideline. My recipe took almost double the time, 50 minutes, because it starts from frozen. For speed, you may consider partially thawing frozen chicken breasts in the microwave. Just be careful not to let them get cooked or badness may ensue.
Bag Cooked Chicken And MushroomsCourse: Main Protein, Meal PlanningDifficulty: Easy
It’s fine to freestyle on this recipe as it’s impossible to keep everything in stock. Use any type of onion you have (shallots are shown). I used Trader Joe’s frozen mushroom mix, which are seasoned, so I eliminated the salt and pepper.
Four frozen chicken breasts
3 C mushrooms, frozen or fresh
1 C sliced shallot
Fresh herbs (whatever you have on hand) or dried
A splash of dry white wine (or lemon juice or a wine vinegar if you don’t have wine)
A drizzle of olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Tear off eight long sheets of tin foil and place one on top of the other. To make packets, fold up the edges. Place chicken in the packet first and season with the salt/pepper if you are using it. Place on top of the chicken about 1 C mushrooms, 1/4 C shallots and random herbs into the packet. Add the splash of dry white wine, just enough so that steam will develop in the packet and a drizzle of olive oil to keep things from sticking.
- Close the sides of the packet over the chicken. If you didn’t pull a large enough sheet, just put one over the packet as a cover. Place the packets on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. At about 40 minutes, check for doneness. Frozen chicken breasts can’t be trimmed prior to cooking. Due to the uneven size and thickness, some will likely finish cooking sooner than others. If you need to, return the pan for another 10 minutes, moving the packets around in the oven if you have hotter or cooler spots, as mine does. The packets should be done at 50 minutes. Keep the chicken steaming in the packet for another 10 minutes after you take them out of the oven.
- Please don’t serve this over whole grain couscous. It tastes like sand. Use something better. Like plain old couscous or delicious brown rice.
You can see this wasn’t quite done at 45 minutes and had to go back. Really, this takes about 50 minutes. Sorry about the hot spots and the deep dark shadow in the photo.