Inspiration: I love book stores. Don’t you just want to nestle down in some quiet corner in the fiction section with some pillows, a blanket, and some snacks and spend a few years working through the shelves? I guess that could be just me. And I guess that could be why I’m slowing building up my own book collection that verges on hoarding. Either way, a few weeks ago, Brandon and I stopped by the local Borders on a Saturday afternoon for some bargain hunting since the store was going out of business. Several hours later, we left the store armed with a few new fabulous cookbooks, including Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s America. From the second that I picked it up, this book captured my heart. It’s divided into sections according to a lot of the great American food regions – New York, Louisiana, the Wild West, Los Angeles, to name a few – and in this way it chronicles the fabulous culinary individuality that this country has to offer when you travel across state lines. The recipes are interspersed with Jamie’s stories about the different people and cultures from the east coast to the west, and it really makes me proud to be part of such a cool country. And I haven’t even mentioned the recipes themselves yet, which are awesomely innovative with all kinds of beautiful, fresh ingredients. I was flipping through the book in the store and landed on this particular recipe (written to be made with alligator meat), and I almost drove down to Louisiana that very night to find some alligator. Almost.
What We Loved: There sure are a lot of great things going on in this meal. Our favorite part was the flavor of the chicken thighs, which are marinated in a fabulous Cajun seasoning that is just full of spice. The chicken is sauteed in some butter until the outside is crispy brown and packed with seasoning, and the inside is still moist and tender. When you add sweet, creamy sweet potatoes into the mix and top everything off with a tangy, sour salsa with a fresh kick of cilantro and a good sprinkle of Kosher salt, the end result is a whole lot of awesome flavors and textures. I love that the meal is all-inclusive, too, with no side dishes needed. For some reason, meals like that are always my favorite kind. There is just something so rustic and charming to me about the way that the meal looks on the plate and the way that all of the flavors meld together when you dig in.
Tips: If you can’t find green tomatoes or if they aren’t in season (we’re pretty much right on the tail end or just past the season right now), I think tomatillos would be an excellent substitute. They’d provide that same tangy, sour flavor that the green tomatoes add to the dish.
Sweet Potatoes with Cajun Chicken and Green Tomato Salsa
Source: Adapted from Jame Oliver via Jamie’s America
For the chicken
1 lb chicken thighs, sliced
1 bay leaf, spine removed and leaf torn into pieces
1 small clove garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard
For the sweet potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
For the salsa
2 slices onion
1/2 fresh red chile
2 small green tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 roma tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
Small bunch of cilantro
Splash apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the chicken breasts into a bowl. Sprinkle as desired with cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the torn bay leaf, garlic, a good drizzle of olive oil, and the mustard. Mix well to coat the chicken. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, until soft.
3. Meanwhile, prepare your salsa. Put the onion, chile, green tomatoes, tomato, and cilantro in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped or minced. Add a splash of cider vinegar, a good drizzle of olive oil, and a big pinch of Kosher salt, and mix to combine.
4. Heat some butter in a saute pan. Saute the chicken until browned and cooked through, a few minutes per side.
5. Cut the cooked sweet potatoes in half, squeezing them a bit to flatten them and push some of the sweet potato up out of the skin. Top with the chicken slices and a good scoop of salsa.
This looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing the recipe! P.S.: I love bookstores too… :-)
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This looks delicious and even if you were not gluten sensitive this is a very healthy meal.Thank you for sharing it.
what a beautiful dish! and I am totally with you on the bookstore love :)
that looks gorgeous. the only way I eat sweet potatoes are when they are in savory recipes, so this is definitely something I would like to try. plus it has tomatoes ;)
I love sweet potatoes in both savory and sweet recipes (non-discriminating sweet potato lover here!), but I’ll agree that the savory ones are my favorite!
That is one tasty looking meal!
just made this meal and scarfed it down. sooooo good. such bold and bright flavors.
So glad that you enjoyed it! That’s a very good description of the meal I think – bold and bright!
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