Published November 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
PaperChef Culinary Parchment Cooking Bags take a traditional French cooking method and make it accessible and easy enough for a speedy weeknight dinner.
The traditional French cooking method en papillote uses parchment paper as a packet in which to bake—and serve—fish, chicken, meat, or vegetables. The enclosed cooking environment helps concentrate flavors while keeping delicate foods like fish moist and intact. In the past, we’ve found making packets from parchment paper cumbersome and substituted aluminum foil. A new product, PaperChef Culinary Parchment Cooking Bags ($3.79 for 10 bags), promises to eliminate the fuss: Simply slide food into these basic bags made of parchment and then fold over the open end three times to seal. We prepared chicken, fish, and vegetables in the bags, comparing them with foil pouches and traditionally crimped parchment. Food cooked similarly in each wrapper, but the PaperChef bags sped up preparation, taking 1½ minutes to fill and fold (compared with 2½ minutes for folding foil and 5½ minutes for crimping parchment). At 38 cents per bag, they are not as cheap as parchment sheets (19 cents) or foil (10 cents), but they do eliminate the need for scissors and a ruler and taming unruly sheets of curling parchment.