I try to keep a bag of frozen chicken breast filets on hand, convenient as they can be. They’re also less expensive than fresh, without much if any quality compromise. I used to feel compelled to mess with whole, bone-in pieces (if not cutting up a whole chicken), but soon saw the benefit of the filets when I got my own household and main responsibility for the cooking, with (a) disabilities that mean I don’t reliably have much energy, and (b) an Iceland just up the street. 🙂
To go with the GF macaroni and cheese and greens last week, I decided to make some easy chicken baked from frozen in foil packets. (You can use fresh filets or whole pieces instead, with a little adjustment in cooking time.) These particular filets were gigantic, four to a kg (2.2 lb.) bag! So, we got one each, and I added on about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
I briefly considered using some Tropical Sun Caribbean Everyday Seasoning–very much like a lighter Old Bay (no doubt based on earlier spice mixes), which is not too surprising given all the colonial trade links between the Chesapeake and the British Caribbean–but was more in the mood for a barbecue flavor. So, I used a few spoonfuls of the surprisingly good Tropical Sun Smoked Bar-B-Que Seasoning. I had initially avoided it, wary as I am of fake smoke flavor, but this dry rub has a nice hickory note added to a yummy spice blend. The slow, moist cooking really brought out the (normally little bit of) heat! You can use any kind of seasoned salt you like; Creole seasoning would work particularly well here. So would drizzling on some piri-piri (I buy bottled) or barbecue sauce instead.
I also only used half a sweet pepper, because I am consistently the only one eating the cooked peppers here. 🙂 Otherwise, I’d probably use at least a whole one.
This is very good served with rice cooked in chicken or veggie broth, or you can thinly slice up a potato or two per person and spread them under the chicken–both easy and tasty!
Vaguely Caribbean chicken in foil
- About a lb. (400-500g) chicken
- Seasoned salt of some type to taste
- Large onion, sliced (I used 2 small)
- 1/2 – 1 sweet pepper, cut in half or quartered and sliced
- Garlic to taste (whole cloves are really nice, but I used dried chips)
- A couple tablespoons of oil, if you’re using skinless filets — I used sunflower, since I wasn’t sure how well butter or olive oil would work here!
Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C. Take some heavy aluminum foil, or a double layer of lighter foil, and a baking sheet to hold the parcel. Lay the chicken out on the foil, and cover both sides with your seasoning. Spread the sliced onion and pepper and the garlic over the top. If you like, sprinkle more seasoning on top of the veggies. Drizzle the oil over the top, if you’re using it to help keep skinless filets moist. Wrap up the parcel, and bake for about these times:
Frozen filets or fresh bone-in pieces: 1 hour (for the fresh pieces, open the foil up the last 20 minutes)
Frozen bone-in pieces: 1 hour 20 minutes (open the foil for the last 20 minutes)
Fresh filets: 30 minutes (you might want to briefly fry or microwave the onions and peppers first to soften them, because they’ll still be very crisp after this short a baking)
Be very, very careful opening the foil. Even though I should have known better, I scalded my arm with the steam!