Recipe Achiote strawberry chicken 'en papillote'

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
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Serve this spicy chicken hot, cold or room temperature. I particularly like it served room temperature as part of a salad. Achiote, also known as annatto, is a spice associated often with Mexican cooking but its also found in Caribbean, Asian and African cuisines. It has a deep slightly bitter peppery flavour which is quite unlike any other spice. It also imparts a lovely deep yellow/orange colour to foods. Its often mixed with souring ingredients which help release its full flavour.

I used strawberries (in part) as a souring agent here which is probably unusual, but I think the result is interesting as the floral notes of strawberry can be detected in the final result. I also ‘cheated’ by using a ready made achiote paste which is mix of achiote with other spices and herbs. You can make it from scratch if you prefer.

I cooked the chicken ‘en papillote’ which not only saves on washing-up but helps keep the chicken breasts from becoming too dry.

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Ingredients
350g boneless chicken breasts (2 large chicken breasts)
25g achiote paste ( I used El Yucataco achiote paste)
Splash of wine vinegar
100g strawberries
1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
4 red birds eye chillies
Slices of lemon or lime

Method
  1. Mix the achiote paste with the vinegar until smooth.
  2. Purée the strawberries (I used a stick blender).
  3. Mix together the achiote paste, strawberry purée, Kashmiri chilli powder and salt to make a marinade.
  4. Cover the chicken breasts with the marinade and leave for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Heat the oven to 180C
  6. Place each chicken breast with the marinade on a large sheet of foil or foil lined with baking paper. Turn up the edges of the foil slightly. Add the chillies and lemon or lime slices.
  7. Place another sheet of foil over the top to make a tent. Crimp the edges of the foil together all round, to form a seal. Bake for 35 mins.
  8. Open the papillote and use a culinary blowtorch to lightly char the top of the chicken (optional).

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