Chicken and Sweet Potato with Olive, Basil and Lemon Sauce
Recently I heard someone happily reminiscing about the recipes and styles of cooking that represented the different stages of their life. This blog has been going since 2009 and has close to 300 recipes and I imagined that it would fulfil that function for me. But when I looked back through the blog I realised that there are quite a few gaps. So, before I admit that enough is enough with this blogging malarkey, I've decided that my project for this year should be to try to fill at least some of those gaps. Yes, I know this is self-regarding nonsense, but I'm too old to care.
This isn't a history lesson, though, and I wouldn't necessarily want to recreate dishes from the past in their original form. I'd rather offer versions that I really want to eat today. I suppose that I should present these recipes in chronological order but I'm afraid that my mind doesn't work that way. So I'm starting in the 1990s for no very good reason at all.
To make this dish, you need to choose an ovenproof ceramic or glass dish that can hold the chicken pieces in a single layer without too much space to spare. Once you've found the right dish (and a blender), the method is very straightforward.
For the main ingredients:
Either 2 chicken thighs and 2 drumsticks or 4 thighs, skin on, bone in
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
For the all-important Olive, Basil and Lemon Sauce:
Around 12 green olives, pitted
125 ml dry vermouth
1 tbsp agave syrup or runny honey
The leaves from a small bunch of basil (about the size you find packaged in a supermarket)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
The zest and juice of 1 large lemon
40 ml lower-salt soy sauce
A dash or two of white wine vinegar
This is all you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan oven).
Clean the sweet potatoes and cut into roughly 1cm thick slices. You don't need to peel them. Toss the slices in a teaspoon or two of olive oil or simply use an oil spray to coat them lightly.
Line the base and sides of your chosen ovenproof dish with the sweet potato slices and season with salt and pepper. (You don't have to be too fussy about this - just do the best you can with the slices you have). Lay the thighs, skin side up, and drumsticks on top of the sweet potatoes. Roast in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are softened.
Meanwhile, either shove all the sauce ingredients into a blender and whiz together until well combined or put them in a jug and attack them with a hand blender. It's up to you how smooth or chunky you'd like this purée to be, but I prefer to leave a little bit of texture without any large chunks. Add an extra dash of the vinegar if you think the sauce is a little too sweet.
When the chicken has finished roasting, remove the dish from the oven and pour the sauce over the chicken and sweet potatoes. Return the dish to the oven and continue cooking for 5 - 10 minutes until thoroughly heated through.
I served this with a few peas on the side this time but any green veg or a salad would be just as good.