If you’re thinking this looks awfully fancy and composed for something I’d come up with on my own, your suspicions would be founded. It’s an oldie but goodie from the Food Network—a recipe I’ve had in the rotation for quite a few years now when I happen to have some chicken thighs to spare (in this case, Costco: $1.69/lb.) and the weather calls for sweet potatoes. Not only are the colors fantastic, but it’s relatively quick to make and is an excellent vehicle for an ending-its-lifespan bunch of cilantro. (If you haven’t yet been enlightened with my tip for making bunches of herbs last for weeks past when they’d normally die a sad, slimy death in the crisper, check it out.)
Recipe adapted (barely) from the Food Network. As below it makes about 3 servings.
-Potato ricer or food mill
-Either wooden skewers soaked for 30 minutes in water, or metal skewers
For the chimichurri:
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves: 20 cents
• 3 T olive oil: 18 cents
• 1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced or press through a garlic press: 2 cents
For the mahogany marinade/basting sauce:
• 5 T brown sugar: 7 cents
• 3 T Dijon mustard: 10 cents
• 2 T hoisin sauce: 10 cents
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (Costco): 20 cents
• 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, divided (it’s OK to cut corners and used bottled here): 50 cents
• 1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes (again, boneless skinless thighs are $1.69/lb. at Costco. If you’re wondering whether a Costco membership is worth it, this is one reason why it may be): $2.54
For the potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes: $2.18
2 T butter: 12 cents
• 2 tsp chopped chipotle in adobo (keep the contents of a can in a bag in the freezer! Just chop pieces off as needed): 10 cents
• 3/4 tsp ground cumin: 5 cents
• 1/2 tsp lime zest: 10 cents
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
TOTAL: $6.48/3 = $2.16/serving
To make the chimichurri, mix the chopped cilantro with the olive oil, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar, hoisin sauce, Dijon, and balsamic vinegar. Remove 2/3 of the mixture to a small bowl. To the remainder, add 1/2 cup lime juice and mix in the chicken. Refrigerate.
Cover the potato cubes with about an inch or two of salted water in a large saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Put cubes through a ricer or food mill and return mash to the pot. Stir in butter, chipotle, lime zest, 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Thread chicken pieces on skewers and brush with reserved sauce.
Broil on all sides, basting every few minutes with sauce, until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Serve either with the chicken on skewers or off, with the potatoes underneath or on the side. Drizzle with chimichurri.