When it comes to chicken, I like the dark meat. I like the gristly, fatty, sinewy bits and the musky deep flavor the darker parts possess. This said, there are times when circumstances call for cooking up that stalwart of American cuisine, the boneless, skinless chicken breast. Maybe I need to whip up something speedy on a busy weeknight, or please the palate of a diehard white meat fan. And in those moments, this is the recipe I reach for. It is, hands down, my favorite way to cook white meat chicken. The breasts are seasoned with an intense paste of smoky chipotle chilies, sweet honey, garlic, and spices, and roasted over a bed of sweet potatoes. While they cook, the kitchen takes on a spicy, autumnal scent from the cinnamon, cumin, and caramelizing sweet potatoes. And the breasts themselves come out moist, juicy, and richly flavored. It’s a fuss-free, one-pan crowd-pleaser, even for the dark meat lovers in the bunch. --Melissa Clark
Time: 15 minutes, plus 35 to 40 minutes roasting
4 (10-ounces each) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped cilantro or basil, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and scatter on the bottom a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the remaining olive oil, chipotles, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, cumin, and cinnamon to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken. Carefully place chicken on top of the sweet potatoes and continue to roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25 minutes longer. Serve garnished with cilantro or basil.
From Publishers Weekly
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