Taste the Air-Chilled Difference®

Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potato Panzanella

by , Chef, Congress Austin, Austin, Texas

Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potato Panzanella

Serves 4

Roasting the Smart Chicken whole, as in this preparation, can make for a fun family meal that’s dressed up enough to serve on a special occasion. It is all at once comforting, familiar, festive, and refined. At the restaurant, we use a bit more butter than is in this recipe; this version is much lighter and healthier.

  • 1 whole Smart Chicken
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all spices. Evenly distribute the seasoning all over and inside the chicken. Place chicken on a roasting rack fitted inside a sheet pan in the very center of the preheated oven; you want to catch and reserve all of the juices for your veloute (recipe follows). Set timer for 45 to 60 minutes. (Keep in mind that cooking time may vary based on exact size of your bird.) After 45 minutes, check the internal temperature of your chicken with a calibrated thermometer. The temperature on the inside of the hip bone should read 165°F, and the juices should run clear. Take chicken out of oven and let it rest at room temperature for another 15 minutes. While the chicken is resting, prepare the Ginger-Cider Veloute (recipe follows) out of the pan juices.

To serve, divide the Sweet Potato Panzanella between four plates. Next, top with equal parts roasted chicken. Ladle 2 tablespoons of the Ginger-Cider Veloute over each plate.

    • Ginger-Cider Veloute
    • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
    • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 8 ounces apple cider
    • Pan juices from roasted chicken, about ¼ cup
    • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

    To a 2-quart sauce pot over medium heat, add butter and heat until foamed. Next, add garlic, shallot, and ginger and sauté lightly for about 2 minutes. Then add flour and stir with a spoon for about 2 more minutes. Slowly whisk in cider, pan juices, and lemon juice. Let the sauce gently simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Adjust seasoning with salt to taste.

      • Sweet Potato Panzanella
      • 1½ pounds sweet potato, peeled and diced large
      • 2 cups ciabatta bread, diced large
      • 2 cupskale, coarsely chopped and steamed
      • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
      • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
      • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
      • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
      • 2 tablespoons white wine
      • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
      • Pinch red chile flakes
      • Kosher salt to taste
      • Olive oil

      Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a sheet tray. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Toss ciabatta bread with a drizzle of olive oil, spread on a sheet tray, and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.

      Warm a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter, garlic, ginger, and shallot and sauté for one minute. Add cooked sweet potato and cooked kale and sauté for 1 additional minute. Add croutons. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add agave, chile flakes, and salt to taste. Serve as soon as possible to retain some of the crunch of the croutons.

      Food For Thought: Veloute

      Considered one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine, a veloute sauce is an ideal preparation for pan juices. The simple sauce begins with a light stock (typically derived from chicken, fish, or veal), which is flavored with aromatics and then thickened with a blond roux (a combination of butter and flour that is cooked gently until golden in color with a slightly nutty aroma). The texture of a veloute sauce is not unlike its French translation—velvety, soft, and smooth to the palate.