Recipes

Spicy Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Romy Gill’s juicy bird is your new go-to weekend supper.

  • Serves

    Serves 4–6

  • Cook

    6 hours

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID MALOSH; FOOD STYLING BY PEARL JONES; PROP STYLING BY SOPHIE STRANGIO

By Romy Gill


Published on October 18, 2022

I love to cook roasts for my family and friends. As a chef, I like to surprise my guests with different textures and tastes, and I often find that a simple, family-sized protein is the perfect canvas for experimentation. In England, where I live, the concept of the “roast” can mean many things. In the winter, the term might refer to a grand and pastry-wrapped beef Wellington or pot roast. Come springtime, the Sunday roast might instead be a leg of lamb. But in the fall, in my house and so many others’, the Sunday roast is a simple roast chicken.

Roast chicken also happens to be frequently served for lunch in schools throughout much of the country. Slow and steady, the roasting method lends itself well to feeding a crowd of hungry kids. Those bland and overcooked cafeteria birds never much resonated with my daughter Reet, though, and until recently, she would not eat our home-roasted chickens. For her, I developed this juicy and exceptionally flavorful recipe. 

I find that crispy sweet potatoes work nicely with this autumn dish, but if you prefer, parsnips or butternut squash are wonderful too. Served alongside a fresh green salad, this succulent bird makes a well-balanced and affordable family Sunday supper. 

Note that I started testing this dish using the tandoor in my Bristol restaurant kitchen. The traditional South Asian oven cooks very quickly and results in juicy meat with a wonderfully smoky flavor. If you would like to approximate this method, remove the skin before adding the spice paste and roast the bird using indirect heat over a covered charcoal or wood-fired grill.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. flaky salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • One 3–3½ lb. whole chicken

For the oven fries:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (1½ lbs)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch or rice flour
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp. flaky salt
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • Mixed salad greens, washed and dried

Instructions

Step 1

In a blender or food processor, pulse the garlic, maple syrup, oil, cumin, black pepper, coriander, chile flakes, fennel, ginger, turmeric, salt, and cinnamon together to make a thick paste. To a medium bowl, add the chicken, then rub the spice paste all over the bird. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 12 hours.

Step 2

30 minutes before you plan to cook the chicken, remove it from the fridge, uncover, and set aside to warm up to room temperature. Place one rack in the bottom third of the oven and another in the top third, then preheat to 350ºF.

Step 3

Place the chicken on a large, rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Transfer to the bottom oven rack and cook until the chicken juices run clear, and a meat thermometer inserted into one of the thighs reads 155ºF, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, make the oven fries: Slice the sweet potatoes into ½-inch batons. Transfer to a large bowl, add enough cold water to submerge, then set aside to soak at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Line a second large baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the potatoes well, pat dry with paper towels, then spread them out in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle the sweet potatoes evenly with the oil, then sprinkle over the cornstarch, black pepper, garlic, salt, and turmeric and toss to coat. Bake, gently stirring the fries with a spoon halfway through cooking, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, 25–30 minutes.

Step 6

On a large serving platter, arrange the oven fries in an even layer. Carve the roast chicken into pieces and place atop the fries. Serve warm, with fresh salad greens on the side.

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