Alton Brown introduced us to the "Pouch Principle." To borrow his own words, "cooking in a pouch is a remarkably simple method capable of producing remarkable complex aromas and flavors." And it is sooooo easy. I think of it as foil, assemble, cook, eat.
Here is how it goes. You get to choose several ingredients and cook them in a pouch with liquid. Pick the meat, carbs, seasoning, and liquid that you want. Here is a list:
As for the liquids, here are your choices:
There is no real formula, but usually, you pick one type of meat and veggie from the list, two types of aromatics and dry seasoning, maybe 3 liquid seasonings, and the starch is optional. For this recipe (adapted from the Food Network), here is what I chose (for 2 pouches):
1 package ramen noodles
2 tablespoons dried mushrooms, chopped
6 pieces snow peas
2 Flounder fillets, sliced into 1/2" squares
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoons chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups culinary broth
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 (18 inch squares) aluminum foil
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a bowl, combine all liquid ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
Divide ramen noodles (and the rest of the dry ingredients) evenly and place in the middle of the aluminum foil. Stack the ingredients over the noodles in this order: snow peas, chopped mushrooms, fish slices, chopped onions, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and kosher salt.
Pull the sides and corners of the foil up to form a small basket shape leaving an opening at the top for the liquid.
Pour the liquid into the pouches , making sure you distribute them evenly. Press the foil together to seal, but leave a small opening to allow steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
*To view the Good Eats episode where Alton Brown shows us the procedure, click here (starting at the 4:49 mark).
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. Different combinations of liquids would produce different taste - try it first before pouring it in the pouch (sometimes it comes out salty!).
2. Feel free to experiment with seasoning. If you like heat but don't care for red pepper flakes, use Tabasco instead.
3. Your choices are NOT limited by what's on the list. Example - I used culinary broth instead of the broths listed down. :-)