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.