Respect for Chipotles in Adobo

Chipotles in adobo are the key ingredient that gives this sheet-pan chicken and sweet potatoes dish its big punch of flavor.
Chipotles in adobo are the key ingredient that gives this sheet-pan chicken and sweet potatoes dish its big punch of flavor.

Thankfully, I have not been that person who mistakes “1 chipotle in adobo” for one whole can of them. I think that person is still combusting.

But I have been that person who has frozen the leftover chipotles in adobo — and promptly forgotten about them in the back of the freezer.

Fortunately, they keep for a long time in the deep freeze. So, that when you do stumble upon them in surprise, you will be thankful because then you can make this effortless “Sheet Pan Honey-Chipotle Chicken and Sweet Potatoes.”

The recipe is by Sheela Prakash, senior contributing editor of the Kitchn.

Marinate chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and red onion overnight or at least two hours before cooking in a mixture of chipotle chiles, garlic, olive oil, honey, cumin and lime that was blitzed until smooth in a blender.

I actually used Japanese sweet potatoes and a yellow onion instead of the red because that’s what I had on hand.

When you’re ready to eat, arrange everything on a sheet pan. I oiled mine lightly, which I added to the recipe. Roast on high heat for about 30 minutes — and it’s done.

A one-pan dinner that's satisfying and filling.
A one-pan dinner that’s satisfying and filling.

The marinade tinges everything a deep orange-red. It also adds a powerhouse of flavor. The chipotles in adobo are the essential ingredient in this dish, doing all the heavy lifting to lend a huge amount of spiciness and smokiness. Chipotles in adobo are so deceptive. They’re small — but they pack a wallop of heat. The recipe recommends 2 to 3 of them in this recipe. I used only 2, and even that provided plenty of heat for this entire dish. I definitely felt the warmth on the back of my throat. The honey is a great addition, too, creating that sweet-spicy marriage we all fall head over heels for.

The recipe says you can stick the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin more, but I found that wasn’t necessary, as the skin on mine was plenty crisp and burnished just from the oven cooking.

I served the chicken, sweet potatoes and onions with rice, as the recipe suggested, which definitely makes for an ample dinner.

So what are you waiting for? Start hunting in your freezer for that trove of chipotles in adobo — and be glad that you did.

Sheet Pan Honey-Chipotle Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

(Serves 4 to 6)

2 to 3 individual chipotle chiles from a can of chipotles in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 medium lime, halved, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 medium red onion (or yellow), cut into 1-inch chunks

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Cooked rice, for serving

Place the chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, garlic, oil, honey, cumin, juice of half a lime, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Place the chicken, sweet potato, and red onion in a large zip-top bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and shake to evenly coat everything in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

Place the chicken skin-side up and the vegetables on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the chicken registers 165°F in the thickest part of the meat not touching bone and the vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes.

If the chicken skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like, broil for a few minutes until the skin is browned and crisp. Remove from the oven, squeeze the remaining lime half over the chicken and vegetables, and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve over rice.

Recipe Notes:

Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure the chipotles in adobo contain no wheat.

Spice level: This recipe is fairly spicy. If you prefer a milder, gentle heat, use 1 or 2 chipotle chiles instead of 3.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Adapted from the Kitchn

More Recipes Using Chipotles in Adobo: Shredded Chicken in Tomato Chipotle Sauce

And: Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Orange Sauce

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  • We love those canned chipotles! We usually store the extra ones in a small container in the refrigerator. That way we see them all the time and don’t forget to use them. Freezing probably is a better idea, though. Anyway, this looks great. Love roasted sweet potatoes, and this takes them to another level. Thanks!

  • What a great idea. Can’t wait to try this recipe and even have all the ingredients on hand!

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