Winter Brightness

Orange is my favorite color. It's bright and cheerful and can make even the coldest winter day feel a little warmer. Rusty orange blankets find themselves scattered throughout my living room, tempting you to grab a book and a cozy corner for a moment or ten. Orange utensils hang out in a crock on my baker's rack in the the kitchen, offering practicality alongside a bright spot while cooking. And when it's time for dinner in the dead of winter, you can beat a meal boasting orange hues will find a soft spot in my heart.

This one pan meal builds layers of ingredients in the orange color palette. The chicken combines classic caramelization and charring techniques with ruddy smoked paprika to give our dish its meaty base. Cubed sweet potato brings an earthy element to the dish. Orange slices brighten it all before honey is drizzled over the top to bring it all together. If you'd like to continue the theme, feel free to use orange blossom honey for a citrusy floral flavor and that tell-tale orange glow!

This really is a one dish meal. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and call this dinner. Save the sides for another time.

Charred Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges

  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 large orange, sliced into rings
  • 2-3 T. honey

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Heat the cooking fat of your choice in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While it is getting hot, rub the chicken thighs generously with the seasonings (granulated garlic through black pepper). When it the skillet hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, add the chicken and allow to sizzle for 5 minutes without moving the pieces. Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces and sizzle for another 3-4 minutes before adding the sweet potatoes. Stir every 3-4 minutes, allowing the chicken and sweet potatoes to build up a caramelized, slightly charred (dark, but not smoking) texture.

Once the chicken and sweet potatoes have been thoroughly browned, layer the orange slices over the top of the pan and drizzle the honey evenly over the top of it all. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely through, the sweet potatoes are soft, and the oranges are warmed through. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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