Making Instant Pot vegetables en papillote, which refers to a method of cooking food in a folded pouch or parcel, is so simple you will want to have these as your dinner side dish every night of the week.
In today’s recipe, I want to show you how to cook a healthy vegetable side dish using a method called en papillote. French for “in parchment”, this method uses baking/parchment paper, paper bag or even aluminum foil, to fold the ingredients into a parcel or a pouch, which is then baked or steamed. In this way, the food – usually fish or vegetables – cooks in its own juices and steam, infusing with any flavours or spices you add to the bag. A papillote is then opened at the table to allow people to smell the aroma when it opens.
Instead of baking or steam, you can cook this way in the Instant Pot in a much quicker time. While I’m using beautiful garden carrots and crunchy green beans with a little butter, garlic and herbs, you can choose other vegetables or even add some shrimp or fish to the paper parcel. For a Whole30/dairy-free version, use olive oil or ghee instead of butter. For a more Asian twist, you can add thinly sliced ginger, chili and cilantro with lime juice.
Folding en papillote
There are multiple ways to fold your ingredients inside a paper parcel. You can use a square or rectangular piece of parchment paper, or you can do a more traditional French method of cutting out a heart-shaped piece (see below). In either case, place the vegetables in the middle, season with salt and pepper, top with some butter, garlic and lemon juice/slice, then fold into a parcel.
I used a lazy, freestyle method of folding the parcel but here is a different more traditional French way from Katherine Martinelli’s blog, or you can watch this video to see how to fold a heart-shaped parchment paper.
The main thing is to make sure the edges are folded tightly so the steam and the juice can’t escape the parcel. As you can see, my parcel is not as beautifully folded but it was quick and easy and did the job just fine. Lesson here: don’t be too precious or afraid of cooking en papillote!
- 2–3 oz. of fine green beans, tails chopped off
- 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced into long sticks
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of butter (or olive oil for Whole30/dairy-free version)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I used fresh oregano leaves but you can add rosemary, thyme, parsley)
- 15” (30-35cm square) of parchment/baking paper
- Place the wire rack inside the Instant Pot and add a cup of water.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board or a plate. Place the vegetables in the middle, season with pepper and salt, scatter the garlic around. Top with a few dollops of butter and drizzle with lemon juice. Place the lemon slice in the middle and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Fold the paper in half and then, forming a parcel, fold the edges together tightly. It doesn’t matter what shape it takes, as long as it is tightly folded all over.
- Carefully transfer the parcel onto the wire rack inside the pot. Place and lock the Instant Pot lid, and set the vent to Sealing. Press Manual setting, HIGH pressure and adjust the time to 2 minutes. After 3 beeps the IP will start to build up the pressure and cooking will begin. Once the timer goes off, allow 2-3 minutes for natural release, then use a quick release method (simply pointing the steam vent to Venting) to let the rest of the pressure/steam out.
- Open the lid and carefully lift the parcel out of the pot and onto a plate. Open the parcel at the table.
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