A little sweet, a little smoky, and totally delicious—need I say more?
Chicken With Caramelized Onions, Sweet Potato Mash, and Orange-Chipotle Cream Sauce
Time: 30-40 minutes, depending on how comfortable you are with multitasking with more than 1 pan!
What You’ll Need:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 1 Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), halved and sliced thinly
- 2 large orange sweet potatoes (yams)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil or butter
- 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon of orange zest
- 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons of orange juice (about half of one orange; save the other half to slice for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons of half-and-half
What to Do:
- Get the sweet potatoes going first. Piece the skin of the sweet potatoes all over, and put on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 minutes. When done, let sit in the microwave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Cut each in half and scoop out the middle into a bowl. Mash with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to plate.
- Put a wide, deep skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter. Add the sliced onions, and spread them out evenly over the pan. Let the onions cook down, stirring every few minutes, until they are browned and soft, about 10 minutes for 1 onion. See below for more tips on caramelizing onions. When ready, transfer the onions to paper-towel lined plate to drain the excess oil. Do NOT rinse or wipe out the skillet—you need all that beautiful stuff on the bottom of it!
- Put the same skillet back over medium heat. Add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any onion bits that are leftover. Add the mustard, orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, and half-and-half. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl.
- Combine all of the dry spices in a bowl: chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pat the chicken breast dry with a towel, and sprinkle the spice mixture all over both sides of the chicken.
- Bring a nonstick skillet or cast iron grill pan to medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray or add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken breasts, letting them cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.
- Now it’s time to assemble your plate! On each plate, add a scoop of mashed sweet potatoes, two chicken breasts topped with a scoop of caramelized onions, and pour the sauce all over the top. Serve with fresh steamed veggies and a slice of orange for garnish. Enjoy!
- When making sauces, I’ve found the process to be easier and more enjoyable if you pre-measure all of your ingredients so that you’re ready to add them all at once.
- You can also make this recipe with turkey cutlets or pork chops. Or, simply make the sauce for a veggie stir fry (this sauce would make tree bark taste amazing.)
Perfectionist Tips for Caramelizing Onions:
- Caramelizing onions requires some patience and vigilance. Low and slow is the name of the game.
- You want to evenly spread out the onions so each slice makes contact with the bottom of the pan. Then leave them alone!
- Stir every few minutes only when you see the onions start sticking to the pan. Then spread them out evenly in the pan again and leave them alone. Repeat this process until the onions turn a dark brown color and are softened. If it seems like the onions are burning but not browning, take the pan off the heat for a minute. Then return it over a lower heat. Personally, I like my onions just a little bit scorched, so when they are most of the way cooked, I turn the heat for about 2 minutes to get a quick char on them (before setting off my fire alarm).