You'll look forward to cool weather just so you can make this irresistible dish. The maple pepper glaze laced with bourbon gives the chicken an extra-crisp skin and drips down to flavor the sweet potatoes as they roast alongside. To gild the lily, add one cup of pecan halves to the potatoes about ten minutes before they're done.
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh-ground black pepper
1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 425°. In a large roasting pan, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Push them to the edges of the pan, leaving a space in the center for the chicken.
Rub the cavity of the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Twist the wings behind the back and tie the legs together. Put the chicken, breast-side up, in the center of the roasting pan. Coat the chicken with the remaining tablespoon oil, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper, and dot with the butter. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, bourbon, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and stir the potatoes. Brush the chicken with about 2 tablespoons of the glaze and drizzle the potatoes with about 1/2 tablespoon of the glaze. Return the pan to the oven and cook, stirring the potatoes and brushing the chicken with the remaining glaze 2 more times, until the chicken and potatoes are just done, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer the bird and potatoes to a plate and leave to rest in a warm spot for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off the fat from the roasting pan. Add any accumulated juices from the chicken to the liquid in the pan. Serve the chicken with the pan juices and sweet potatoes.
Wine Recommendation: With ingredients like maple syrup, bourbon, and sweet potatoes, this dish should be matched with an all-American wine. The best choice is a fruity zinfandel from California.
I made this last night for my family, and was surprised by how easy it was to execute and also how quickly it came together, requiring only an hour of roasting time. I found the chicken was well browned after only about 45 minutes at that temperature, so I covered it with foil for the last 15 minutes of roasting. The sweet potatoes end up almost candied, with a nice crunchy/chewy coating.
This was such an easy dish, and a change from the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving (athough a turkey could have been easily substituted.) I added carrots and parsnips to the sweet potato mixture for an array of fall colors and it turned out beautiful!!! I also used a 7.5 lb oven-roaster chicken so had to adjust the cooking time slightly, but this recipe allows for easy changes. Definitely a do over!
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