This roast chicken with sweet potatoes and brown butter is an elevated version of chicken and vegetables where a roasted spatchcocked chicken is served atop sweet potatoes and the whole shebang drizzled with a rosemary-infused brown butter vinaigrette.
Sweet potatoes and cashews share a certain quality of sweetness. Together with nutty-tasting browned butter, they make for a harmony of flavors and textures that can only be described as downright pleasing. Everything in this dish except the chicken can be made well in advance, so it is an ideal make-ahead option for a Sunday lunch or family dinner.–Ned Baldwin and Peter Kaminsky
Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Brown Butter
For the chicken
- 1 small (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) chicken butterflied (or purchase bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- Oil for the skillet
For the sweet potatoes and cashews
- 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup raw cashews roughly chopped
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves stripped and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the brown butter vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces aged sheep milk cheese such as Manchego
Prepare the chicken
- Place the chicken in a large metal bowl, sprinkle the salt evenly all over it, and rub the chicken around the inside of the bowl until all the salt adheres. Let the salted chicken rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before cooking.
Make the sweet potatoes and cashews
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In an ovenproof pot with a lid or a roasting pan, fit the sweet potatoes snugly in a single layer and cover tightly with foil and then a lid. Roast until very soft, 75 to 95 minutes. (The sweet potatoes can be cooked ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
☞TESTER TIP: Make the sweet potatoes while the chicken is resting in the fridge. Then leave the sweet potatoes in their dish on the stovetop while the chicken cooks. The heat from the oven will keep them warm.
- Place a strainer over a small heatproof bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cashews and cook, stirring, until the butter has mostly stopped foaming and has turned slightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour the cashews and butter into the strainer and then return the butter to the saucepan.
- Add the rosemary and cook over medium heat until the foaming dies down. Then cook for 30 seconds more. Pour this over the cashews in the sieve. Transfer the cashews to a plate, salt them, and reserve the butter.
Make the brown butter vinaigrette
- Combine the reserved butter with the vinegar and salt.
- About 1/2 hour before roasting the chicken, preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C).
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels.
- Oil a large heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet. You want a thick coating of oil that’s more than a slick and less than a puddle. Place the pan over high heat until you see the faintest wisp of smoke rising from the oil, 3 to 4 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If your skillet won’t accommodate the whole chicken, split it into 2 halves and use 2 skillets, or break the chicken down into pieces and arrange them in your skillet.
- Gently—really gently, so the oil doesn’t spatter—place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the skin turns faintly blond, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the floor of the oven. Cook until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If your chicken is on the smaller side, it may be done quicker, so start checking after about 20 minutes.
- Slice the cheese into thinnish slices; don’t worry if it crumbles. In a small pan over low heat warm the vinaigrette. Reheat the sweet potatoes, if necessary.
☞TESTER TIP: If you don’t care for the skin on the sweet potato, you can simply slip it right off.
- Cut the chicken and sweet potatoes into manageable pieces and place on a platter. Scatter the cheese, cashews, and rosemary all over and spoon the hot brown butter vinaigrette over everything.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
So, I was a bit skeptical with this recipe because it just sounds bland. Sweet potatoes and chicken. No pepper anywhere in the dish. No onions or garlic. Just sounded blah. But I gave it a go and was super surprised how much the brown butter vinaigrette added depth and flavor to this dish.
I was super concerned with just the salted chicken for 2 hours and patting it dry and not seasoning it with anything, however it was super flavorful. It did not need any more salt, but I would have added some black pepper. The cashews added a nice crunch to the sweet potatoes. Over all, very tasty.
While the chicken was sitting in the fridge, I baked off the sweet potatoes for an hour and 35 minutes. And then 30 minutes for the chicken.
Once the brown butter vinaigrette was done, I tasted it and it was way too tart for my liking so I browned 3 more tbls butter and added it to it and it was perfect.
Originally published December 26, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
A rustic but elegant restaurant-worthy dish to serve for an autumnal feast in the comfort of your own home. We loved the combination of flavors—the cashews with the manchego atop the typical chicken and sweet potatoes really knocked it out of the park.
If you think spatchcocking the chicken is too much trouble, just buy a whole chicken already cut in pieces. It was surprisingly simple to execute this flavorful chicken dish.
One tip: Leave the cooked sweet potatoes on the stove while the chicken cooks in the oven to have it ready to add to the warm chicken.