The fancy term for this is “En Papillote.” I can’t believe I made it to thirty-years-old without ever cooking a meal wrapped up in parchment paper. It’s the ultimate one-pot dinner. All the flavors of whatever you stick in there just meld together.
I’ve liked mushrooms for a long time, but until about a year ago, my mushroom repertoire was limited to three uses: sauteing in butter, mixing into pasta sauce, or marinating portobello caps for sandwiches. I’m always excited to find a new way to use them, and to try different mushroom varieties (except for the ones that cause hallucinations… there’s enough weird stuff going on in my head as it is). I don’t think I’ve actually cooked with shiitakes before. They’re great- earthy and meaty, but not overpowering. Served with brown rice and baby spinach, and seasoned with just olive oil, thyme, and lemon, shiitakes make a satisfying meal.
The recipe I used just assumed everyone knows how to wrap up rice and mushrooms in a tidy little packet and did not offer any guidance on how to do so, so I improvised. After placing everything in the middle of the parchment paper, I folded the left and right ends over, and then the top and bottom ends, tucking the bottom edge into the top. Then I carefully flipped it over on another piece of parchment, seam-side down. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me. I could try to draw a diagram but instead I decided to help you get one step ahead: I did some Googling, and discovered there are far fancier ways to seal parchment paper, like this. Good to know for next time. At least I didn’t go with my first instinct to use Scotch tape.
Shiitake Mushrooms and Brown Rice En Papillote (serves 4, from Whole Living)
2 cups cooked brown rice
4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh greens (baby spinach worked well)
Preheat oven to 425. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 12 x 16 inches each. Divide brown rice among parchment sheets. Top each with mushrooms and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Fold up and seal parchment, either by using the link I suggested above or by calling upon those origami skills you never get to use.
Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until packet is puffed and mushrooms are cooked through, around 20-25 minutes. Serve with greens seasoned with lemon juice. (I used the lemon on the mushrooms, too.) I suppose you could serve everything right on the parchment paper. Apparently that’s the thing to do if you’re trying to impress people: actually serve them their meal in wrapped up in paper and give them the honor of unwrapping their very own food present. While I love unique presentations, I have some sort of sensory aversion to metal forks scratching against parchment*, so I transferred everything to a plate.
*I blame this on a certain cat who wakes me up at 4 am by scratching whatever papery surface he can find.