This chicken, sweet potato, and bacon casserole is comfort food personified. Herbed chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, bacon, sauteed red onion, and Gruyere cheese are mixed together and baked. Weeknights, weekends, dinner for company. It does it all.
Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Bacon Casserole
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 20 M
- Serves 4 to 6
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or shallow 3-quart casserole dish.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Either chop the chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks or place each chicken breast on a work surface and, using a sharp knife held parallel with the surface, cut the breast in half horizontally to create 8 chicken pieces. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Set aside 1 teaspoon herb mixture. Season the chicken on all sides with the remaining herb mixture.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Stack several rounds on top of each other and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Peel the onion, halve through the root end, and slice into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons oil until hot. Add the chicken and sauté until lightly browned but not cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to the prepared baking dish. Add the chicken broth and wine to the skillet and whisk to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has reduced to 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour over the chicken breasts.
In the same skillet set over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and, when cool, chop coarsely. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings and reserve for another use. To the drippings in the skillet add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the skillet over medium heat, and when hot, add the sweet potatoes and onion and sauté, stirring, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and spoon them over the chicken. Sprinkle with the bacon. (The casserole can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Let it set at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and the reserved 1 teaspoon of seasoning. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, whisking constantly, and cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes from the time the sauce begins to boil. The sauce will be quite thick. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed. (You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the sauce separately for up to 1 day. Gently reheat over low temperature before proceeding.) Dab the sauce over the ingredients in the casserole and sprinkle with the Gruyère. Cover the casserole loosely with a sheet of foil.
Bake the casserole until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before bringing it to the table. If desired, garnish the center of the dish with some sage and thyme sprigs before serving.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Fall is a favorite time of year at my house, and this chicken, sweet potato, and bacon casserole is worthy of a showing on our autumn table. The instructions are clear, the process simple, and the ingredients delicious and readily available. These are all important to me when I make a casserole.
While prepping the ingredients, I decided to chop the chicken into chunks for easier serving. I cooked the bacon first, then sautéed the chicken in the bacon drippings. Sautéing the vegetables went quickly and yielded great-looking sweet potatoes and a lovely aroma. Even before it went in the oven, the casserole looked so delicious I couldn't wait to try it. For this reason, I did not make it ahead, but placed it in the oven as soon as it was ready. During baking, the sauce becomes more like a glaze covering all the ingredients in the dish. I sprinkled some chopped fresh sage on top immediately before serving, which looked beautiful and lent a touch of aroma as it warmed on the surface of the hot casserole.
This casserole is addicting. I was hoping to have a little left-over for the next day’s lunch, but no luck. Everyone loved it and it did not survive the evening.
Everyone agreed that this chicken, sweet potato, and bacon recipe is a wonderful dish with a great combination of flavors. I love how this recipe uses the same pan instead of messing up a lot of dishes.
The author of the recipe did a great job with instructions and timing. A beginner could look at this recipe and follow it with great results, although we felt this was not a casserole. The red onion ended up a dull gray color and did not look appealing but the flavor was great. I would probably change this to a sweet yellow onion next time. We also wished there were a little more sweet potatoes and sauce, because they were delicious. This recipe served 6 servings for us plus enough leftovers to take for lunch the next day.