This recipe is a variation on a dish my Avó used to cook. She would use fish or chicken interchangeably, and change up the herbs and seasonings based on what was growing well in the garden and what was on hand in the spice cabinet. Here, I have used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could just as easily substitute other poultry parts as well. With the exception of the chicken, every other ingredient in this dish offers some anti-inflammatory properties. This happy confluence of nostalgic comfort food with anti-inflammatory eating reminds me of the book The Jungle Effect, and its focus on traditional, indigenous diets as a healthier way to eat and prevent disease. My Avó’s traditional Portuguese cooking was actually a very healthful approach to eating, so I’ve been mining my memories of her kitchen for inspiration.
Avó’s Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
3-4 boneless, skinless, free-range chicken breasts
1 large sweet potato, sliced
1 large sweet onion, sliced
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried sage
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1-2 Tbsp robust, fresh herbs (I used orange thyme, but rosemary is also nice)
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
Optional: fresh parsley and lemon balm, chopped, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 11″ glass or ceramic baking dish with the sliced sweet potato and onion.
Combine the paprika, dried sage, and salt and use this mixture to season both sides of the chicken breast. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the sweet potato and onion. Drizzle olive oil over all. Sprinkle with sliced garlic, thyme, and black peppercorns.
Carefully pour the chicken broth into the dish. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for one hour, or until sweet potatoes are soft and chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon balm before serving.