Summer is in the “back nine” of the season, but I am still interested in “alt recipes” to put on the grill. I have come upon another one of these “put-stuff-in-a-foil-pack” and throw-it-on-a-heat-source recipes. I can well imagine that there is some cookbook out there that has 93 variations on this theme covering most regional and ethnic cuisines, as well as covering diverse dietary needs. This is my second use of foil pack this summer, I love the recipe; but I am already looking around the corner to Fall/Winter and a return to casseroles, stews and the other wonders produced in my slow-cooker, my beloved Dutch oven, and Sandy’s glorious cast iron skillet.
This recipe shares an important detail with nearly all my previous recommendations (regardless of season): Ease of assembly & prep. We have a modest kitchen in Woodbury and we don’t have counter space for mechanical kitchen gadgets, e.g. blenders, food processors and the like (and I’m not inclined to use them anyway). Hence even if recipes can benefit in efficiency & speed with improved technology, I prefer “dumbed down” variations. With regard to foil pack recipes: considering their origins as “hobo food” cooked in a-can-over-an-open-fire-near-train-tracks – this Santa Fe Chicken recipe updates the concept without requiring fancy shmancy kitchen apparatus.
For wine, the story is a bit different. My interest in “warm weather wines” lingers well into September and to Indian Summer days of October. For years my “go to” White wine is Sancerre from France’s Loire Valley. Sancerre is one of the Loire’s smallest appellations and its grape production focuses on Sauvignon Blanc. However there is a tiny amount of Pinot Noir that is also produced to make Sancerre Rouge. But the even more rare is the Rosé of Pinot Noir that is also made. Only “drops” of Sancerre Rosé make it out of France.
For some, Rosé is considered a “summer red.” And for some, Rosé is wonderful year ‘round (I love to have a bottle of Rosé on my Thanksgiving table). As much as I love Rosés from Provence as a warm weather wine, I chose the Thierry Véron Sancerre Rosé because I thought a Pinot Noir based wine matched better with the flavors of the chicken dish. Chilled (but not cold), the wine was a perfect choice for our dinner!
Thierry Véron Sancerre Rosé Cave de la Bouquette ‘18 (Loire, France)
It’s as crisp as I’ve tasted. Elegant, bright, fresh, almost electric with its verve and tenacity. Pale pink in the glass, casting aromas of wet stones, fresh strawberries, and salt air. Flavors of peach skin, green melon rind, and Rainier cherries.
FOIL PACK SANTA FE CHICKEN DINNER
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
2 half boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup of frozen corn
½ cup of black beans (drained)
½ cup of cooked rice (brown or white)
2 tsp taco seasoning
½ cup of salsa
½ cup of shredded cheese
1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size. Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming. Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!
2. Take 2 slices of heavy duty foil. Spray with non-stick spray
4. Place half a chicken breast on top of the veggies.
3. Place a ¼ cup of rice on each foil. Top with a ¼ cup of black beans and ¼ cup of corn
5. Top with ¼ cup of salsa and ¼ cup of shredded cheese
6. Fold up all the sides to make a foil packet
7. Place on grill for 30 minutes
8. Open foil carefully & tuck in!!
n.b. The above recipe is for two. But this recipe is perfectly “scalable” either down or up. Yes, the foil packs can be moved inside to cook in an oven, although I’ve never done it. Temp? Try 400° for 30 minutes. If it doesn’t turn out OK, call Homeland Security, Recipe Division, lodge a complaint & order Chinese take-out.