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Lunch & Dinner Mains

Instant Pot Za'atar Chicken Thighs with Sweetpotatoes, Kale, and Sorghum

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Instant Pot Za'atar Chicken Thighs with Sweetpotatoes, Kale, and Sorghum

Za'atar Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Sorghum.jpg

Instant Pot Za'atar Chicken Thighs with Sweetpotatoes, Kale, and Sorghum

Serves 6

Ingredients:
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 tablespoon za’atar (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cups diced orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes
1 cup peeled, diced apple
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole grain sorghum (see notes)
1 cup water
2 cups packed chopped kale

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with the za’atar, salt, and pepper.

  2. In an instant pot on the sauté setting, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the chicken skin side down and cook until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

  3. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and oregano and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the sweetpotatoes, apple, broth, sorghum, water, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on top of the mixture. Secure the lid, making sure that the steam vent is closed. Switch to the pressure cooker setting and cook for 20 minutes.

  4. Release the steam valve and open the lid. Remove the chicken and set it aside. Stir the kale into the mixture in the instant pot.

  5. Arrange the sweetpotato and sorghum mixture on plates or a platter, top with the chicken, and serve.

Notes: Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend. Look for it in the spice section of your supermarket and at gourmet food stores.

For tips on buying and cooking with sorghum, visit www.simplysorghum.com.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Simply Sorghum

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Sweetpotato, Sorghum, and Pomegranate Salad

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Sweetpotato, Sorghum, and Pomegranate Salad

Sorghum, Sweetpotato, and Pomegranate Salad.jpg

Sweetpotato, Sorghum, and Pomegranate Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
2 teaspoons sorghum syrup (see notes)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/3 cup olive oil

For the sweetpotatoes:
3 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes, diced 
2 teaspoons olive oil or coconut oil 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the candied walnuts:
1 tablespoon sorghum syrup or maple syrup (see notes)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound walnut halves

For the salad:
1 bunch kale 
3 cups cooked whole grain sorghum (see notes)
1 small red onion, quartered 
3 tablespoons hemp seeds 
1 cup pomegranate arils

Instructions:

  1. Make the dressing: Cut the top of the garlic head, place the cloves into a garlic press, and slowly squeeze the softened garlic into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, syrup, mustard, ginger, and cinnamon. Whisk in the oil and set aside.

  2. Make the sweetpotatoes: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetpotatoes, oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the sweetpotatoes and continue to bake until lightly brown and tender. Set aside to cool.

  4. Make the candied walnuts: Reduce the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

  5. In a medium bowl, combine the syrup, oil, cinnamon, and ginger, stirring to mix well. Chop half of the walnuts, then add the chopped walnuts and walnut halves to the syrup mixture, stirring gently until thoroughly coated. Arrange the walnut mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  6. Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the kale with 3/4 of the dressing, using your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Add the sorghum, onion, hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, sweetpotatoes, and 1/2 cup of the walnuts. Transfer to a serving bowl or plates, sprinkle with more walnuts, and serve.

Notes: For tips on buying and cooking with sorghum and sorghum syrup, visit www.simplysorghum.com.

To switch things up, try pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts or dried cranberries instead of pomegranate arils.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Simply Sorghum

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Grilled Lamb and Sweetpotato Kabobs with Quinoa, Garlic, Lemon, and Mint

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Grilled Lamb and Sweetpotato Kabobs with Quinoa, Garlic, Lemon, and Mint

Lamb has a natural sweetness that makes it a perfect pairing for sweetpotatoes. For example, we love baked sweetpotatoes with broiled lamb chops and grilled sweetpotato wedges with lamburgers. And we bet you would, too.

Here, we take the combo to new heights, adding lemon, olive oil, tons of garlic, and fresh mint. Great for a weekend barbeque with friends or a weeknight dinner with family, it’s all good.

Grilled Lamb and Sweetpotato Kabobs with Quinoa, Garlic, Lemon, and Mint

Grilled Lamb and Sweetpotato Kabobs with Quinoa, Garlic, Lemon, and Mint

Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 lemons
12 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided, plus more to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 3 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
1 cup quinoa
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Special equipment: about 18 10-inch metal skewers (see note)

Instructions:

  1. Zest the lemons. Juice the zested lemons to yield 6 tablespoons of juice. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, whisking to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the oil. Set aside 2/3 cup of the mixture, then transfer the remaining mixture to a large resealable bag and add the lamb and sweetpotatoes. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for as long as overnight. (If refrigerated, return to room temperature before proceeding.)
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Thread the lamb and sweetpotatoes onto skewers (discard the marinade). Sprinkle the skewers on all sides with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper. Grill the skewers, turning on all sides, until the lamb is done to your liking and the sweetpotatoes are lightly charred and tender, about 15 minutes for medium-rare.
  4. Stir the tomatoes, scallions, about half of the mint, and about 2/3 of the remaining lemon mixture into the quinoa. Arrange the quinoa on plates or a platter and top with the skewers. Drizzle with the remaining lemon mixture, sprinkle with the remaining mint, and serve.
  5. Note: It’s easiest to thread sweetpotatoes onto metal skewers. If you prefer to use wood or bamboo, try “pre-drilling” the sweetpotatoes with a metal skewer or something similar. (And as always, soak wood or bamboo skewers in water at least 10 minutes before using them on the grill.)

Recipe developed in partnership with the California Sheep Commission

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Sweetpotato “Big Macs”

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Sweetpotato “Big Macs”

Reprinted from “Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie,” by Mary-Frances Heck (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2017)

As a kid, I loved the classic Big Mac, and I still occasionally get a taste-memory craving for it. But, as an adult, I really don’t like the low-quality meat that’s part of the original package, so I recreated the sandwich at home, replacing the meat with crispy sweetpotato patties which go remarkably well with the tangy sauce, crunchy pickles, onions, iceberg lettuce, and American cheese, all on a sesame seed bun.

Sweet Potato Big Macs

Sweetpotato “Big Macs”

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients:
2 large sweetpotatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4 sesame seed burger buns, plus 4 additional bottom buns
Burger Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
24 dill pickle chips
4 slices American cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion or shallot

Instructions:

  1. Grate the sweetpotatoes on a box grater into a larger bowl. Season with the salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Line a plate with brown paper or paper towels. When the oil shimmers, add 2 or 3 handfuls (about 1/2 cup each) of sweetpotato to the skillet in compact mounds. Let the sweetpotatoes fry into a patty, like a hash brown or latke, for about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the patties are crispy, 2 more minutes. Drain the patties on the brown paper. Replenish the oil as needed to maintain a depth of 1/4 inch. Repeat with the remaining sweetpotatoes until you have 8 patties.

  3. Toast the buns. Line up the 8 bottom buns on a work surface. Spread 1 tablespoon of burger sauce on each and then top with shredded lettuce and pickle chips. Place a slice of cheese on half (4) of the bottom buns and add a patty on all of them. Top the patties with the onions, stack the burgers, and add the top buns.

Tip: The patties can be made up to 1 hour ahead; reheat them in a 400°F oven until hot and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Burger Sauce

Makes 1/2 cup (enough for 4 burgers)

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, honey, pickles, garlic, and paprika until smooth. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Copyright © 2017 by Mary-Frances Heck. Photograph by Kristin Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Braised Sausage, Lentils, and White Sweetpotatoes

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Braised Sausage, Lentils, and White Sweetpotatoes

Reprinted from “Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie,” by Mary-Frances Heck (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2017)

This soulful one-pot meal can be pulled together in less than an hour, but it eats like a braise that cooked all day. The sausages plump and become tender as they cook slowly along with the creamy sweetpotatoes and lentils. Pair with a Pinot Gris, and you have a meal fit for company.

Braised Sausage Lentils and White Sweet Potatoes

Braised Sausage, Lentils, and White Sweetpotatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pork or chicken Italian sausage (4 or 5 links), preferably a mix of spicy and sweet
1 large onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Pinch of dried red chile flakes (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 large white-fleshed sweetpotato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken broth
Kosher or fine sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning with tongs to color evenly, until browned all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate and add the onion and garlic to the pot. Stir to coat in the fat and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onion and garlic until they are limp and pick up a bit of color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and chile flakes, if using, working the paste into the onions and garlic until the oil in the pan is terra-cotta colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the white wine into the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the lentils, sweetpotato, rosemary, and bay leaf. Snuggle the sausages into the pot. Pour the broth over everything and season lightly with salt. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cover and slide the pot into the oven. Braise until the sausages are tender, the lentils and sweetpotatoes are cooked through, and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Tip: You can cook this dish a day ahead, let it cool, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to eat, rewarm it gently on the stove.

Copyright © 2017 by Mary-Frances Heck. Photograph by Kristin Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Chicken and Sweetpotato Stew with Scallion Salsa Verde

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Chicken and Sweetpotato Stew with Scallion Salsa Verde

This stew is a little Latin, a little East Indian, and all yum. The vernal sauce that’s spooned on top—a combo of COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, scallions, and herbs—provides just the right amount of brightness to complement the hearty stew.

Chicken and Sweetpotato Stew with Scallion Salsa Verde - for web site.jpg

Chicken and Sweetpotato Stew with Scallion Salsa Verde

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 cups chicken broth, or more as desired
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
6 tablespoons olive oil, ideally COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
One 14.5- to 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 or 2 limes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
About 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside (the lentils won’t be fully cooked).

  2. While the lentils are cooking, in a large saucepan or small stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the sweetpotatoes, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and sweetpotatoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the garbanzos and the broth and lentil mixture, scraping up any browned bits in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes and lentils are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. (If the mixture seems too thick, add more broth as desired.)

  4. Meanwhile, finely zest one of the limes. Squeeze the zested lime and the additional lime if necessary to yield 2 tablespoons of juice. In a small bowl, combine the zest, juice, scallions, cilantro, parsley, chile, and remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Add salt to taste and set aside.

  5. Taste the stew and add more salt and/or pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the yogurt and salsa verde, with any remaining salsa verde on the side.

Recipe developed in partnership with the California Olive Oil Council

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Harissa Chicken and Sweetpotato Sheet Pan Supper

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Harissa Chicken and Sweetpotato Sheet Pan Supper

It only takes a few ingredients and a single sheet pan to cook up this deeply flavorful dinner, where the earthy spice of harissa—a North African and Middle Eastern red chile paste—is complemented by fresh COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, tangy yogurt, and bright herbs.

Haraissa Chicken and Sweetpotato Sheet Pan Supper - for web site.jpg

Harissa Chicken and Sweetpotato Sheet Pan Supper

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon harissa paste or sauce, divided (see note)
1/4 cup olive oil, ideally COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick) or 4 legs and 4 bone-in thighs
1 1/2 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
Salt to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, parsley leaves, or small dill sprigs, or a combination

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup of the harissa and 2 tablespoons of the oil. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, sweetpotatoes, and harissa mixture, tossing to evenly coat. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon of harissa, and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add salt to taste and set aside.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. (Leave the sweetpotatoes in the bowl.)

  4. Add the sweetpotatoes to the baking sheet with the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sweetpotatoes are tender and browned, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

  5. Transfer the chicken and sweetpotatoes to serving plates or a platter if you like. Drizzle the yogurt mixture on top, garnish with the lemon and herbs, and serve. (Alternately, serve the yogurt mixture at the table.)

  6. Note: Harissa is a North African and Middle Eastern red chile paste or sauce. Look for it in the ethnic section of supermarkets and at Middle Eastern markets and specialty food stores. Its spiciness can vary from brand to brand—taste the one you buy and, if it seems particularly hot, consider using a little less the first time you make the recipe.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the California Olive Oil Council

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Sausage, Sweetpotato, Sweet Onion, and Apple Roast

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Sausage, Sweetpotato, Sweet Onion, and Apple Roast

A delightful combination of sweet and savory, with a tiny touch of smoky heat. Perhaps best of all, it all cooks up on a single sheet pan, making cleanup almost as simple and satisfying as dinner itself.

Sausage, Sweetpotato, Sweet Onion, and Apple Roast - for web site.jpg

Sausage, Sweetpotato, Sweet Onion, and Apple Roast

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 large apple, cored and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
6 pre-cooked chicken sausages (one and one-half 12-ounce packages), cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
2 red or green bell peppers, or a combination, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 large or 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, halved (if using a whole onion) and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweetpotatoes, apple, paprika, salt, sugar, and cayenne. Add the oil, tossing to coat evenly. Transfer the mixture to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.

  3. In the same large bowl, combine the sausages, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Add the mixture to the baking sheet and cook until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Add more salt and cayenne to taste and serve.

Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Seven Ate Nine

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