Notes: Za'atar is a Middle Eastern dried herb and spice mixture. Dried oregano can be substituted, though the dish won't have as full a flavor. Check the chicken's doneness by carefully peeling open a packet and temping with a thermometer. Take care when opening the packets to avoid being burnt by the hot steam. This dish is great when served with couscous or a rice pilaf.
About the author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog, shophousecook.com, or follow her on Twitter @yvonneruperti.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:35 minutes
- 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons za'atar (see note above)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, sliced thin (seeds removed)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Slice each chicken breast on the bias, into three or four equally thick pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with the onion, pepper, tomatoes, Za'atar, oil, parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Lay four 12- by 12-inch pieces of parchment on work surface. Place mounds of the mixture (about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide) a few inches off the center of each square of parchment paper. Take care to equally divide the veggies and chicken between each serving. Place slices of lemon on top.
Working one package at a time, fold the parchment over the mixture. Starting at one corner, fold over the edges of the paper in small increments to form a tightly sealed half-moon shape. Repeat with remaining packets.
Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes (see note above). Transfer each packet directly to a serving plate and serve, breaking open the packets at the table.