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Healthy Cooking in Parchment: 5-Spice Chicken Thighs with Vegetables

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Have you started cooking in parchment yet? This age-old cooking method is incredibly easy, delicious and healthy—flavors and vitamins are sealed in.

This colorful, Asian-inspired dish features chicken, fennel, red peppers and carrots—delighting your eyes as much as your taste buds. It also yields generous helpings of health-boosting phytonutrients. The fennel gives us anethole, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and help prevent the recurrence of cancer. The carrots and red peppers are loaded with beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect our eyes.

Got your baking parchment and scissors ready?

5-Spice Chicken Thighs with Vegetables

  • 2 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (Asian style)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 small carrots, sliced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Prepare the parchment: Cut two large pieces of parchment paper for baking (at least 15 inches x 20 inches). Cut out a large heart shape by folding the paper in half and tracing a half-heart, keeping the fold at the center of the heart. Place the cut-out hearts, opened, on a baking sheet. (For a step-by-step visual explanation from Bon Appetit magazine, click here.)

Cut the chicken thighs into one-inch squares and place in a bowl. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with brown sugar, five-spice powder and salt, and toss to coat evenly.

Arrange the vegetables in the center of one half of each parchment heart, keeping them close to the fold and dividing evenly. Spoon the chicken mixture on top of the vegetables, dividing evenly.

Seal the packages: Fold the other half of the parchment heart over the chicken and vegetables so that the edges line up with the bottom half. Beginning at the top of the heart, fold the edges over, making small, tight pleats and creasing them firmly. Finish by twisting the point at the end to seal.

Bake 20 minutes. Place on serving plates, and cut an “X” in the top of each packet. Peel back the pointed edges to open. (Be careful of steam!!)

Makes 2 servings.

Looking for another delicious parchment recipe? Try our Garbanzo Vegetable Curry.

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Source: Debby Maugans, food writer based in Asheville, North Carolina, and author of Small Batch Baking, Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers and Farmer and Chef Asheville.

Photo credit: Debby Maugans Date: September 8, 2016 Publication: Health Insider