Recipe 16.1: Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Every now and then I plan for a meal that I end up feeling really unexcited about (like the amazing Warm Shrimp and Spinach Salad from Week 6). When this happens, I tend to drag my feet and continually put off actually making the meal. 9 times out of 10, that “boring” meal ends up being one of my favorites from the week; this recipe is one of those 9 (thank goodness)! We had my parents over for an impromptu meal and this meal was perfect. It was the perfect amount of food for four adults, plus everyone loved it. It felt almost holiday-ish!
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 small loaf of bread
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 lbs. sweet potatoes (I used 3 sweet potatoes)
4 tbs. olive oil, divided
2 large shallots
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbs. fresh rosemary (feel free to sub dried)
1/2 head of lettuce
grapeseed oil and basalmic vinagrette
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray, then set aside.
Begin by preparing bread crumbs. Rip bread into small chunks, then put into bowl of food processor, along with roughly chopped garlic cloves. Pulse until crumbly. Combine breadcrumb mixture, chopped parsley, and parmesan in a medium bowl. Remove chicken from packing and lay on plastic cutting board. Use your fingers to gently loosen skin on chicken just enough to create a pocket in which to stuff the breadcrumb mixture. Stuff mixture between skin and meat on all breasts, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Lay in baking dish and sprinkle with any remaining mixture. Bake in oven, for around 30 minutes, or until middle of chicken registers 165 on a thermometer. Cover with foil and let rest.
Once chicken is in the oven, prepare potatoes. Peel potatoes and cut into small, even-sized chunks. Place in medium saucepan, cover with cold water, then cover with lid and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 8 minutes. While potatoes come to a boil, slice shallots thinly. Heat 2 tbs. olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add shallots. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add brown sugar. Continue to stir occassionally, until shallots are golden and caramelized. Once potatoes are done boiling, drain, then move to a large bowl. Use a hand-held mixer and drizzle in olive oil as you continue to mix, until smooth. Add rosemary, salt, and pepper. Beat to blend. Top with shallots to serve.
Serve chicken, potatoes, and a small side salad on each plate. (As you can see, we also topped out salads with some pumpkin seeds for a nice crunch and a bit of spice!)