Ancho-Cumin Chicken with Fried Sweet Potatoes

2 chicken breasts
1 vidalia onion, frenched
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp five spice powder
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
pumpkin pie seasoning (or allspice & cinnamon)
canola oil
kosher salt

First I began by frenching the onion. Get your minds out of the gutter. It’s a culinary technique wherein you cut the onion in half and then slice thin wedges off.

I peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into thin rounds. I say 1/4" thick, but it was a little thinner than that. The pieces that came out 1/8" thick tended to curl in the pan, but I really didn’t want to be so specific as to recommend 3/16 of an inch.

I used a plastic zipper bag to coat the sweet potatoes with oil & spices. I did it in small batches, about 1/4 of each potato at a time with a dash of oil and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Then I’d squeeze out the air, close the bag, and squish it around to coat. That’s about the same amount of potato I can fit into the pan at one time, so I’d be working on the next batch while the first batch cooked.

Since they’re cut thinner, the potatoes took 3-4 minutes per side on medium-high heat. I didn’t salt the potatoes themselves. Instead, I sprinkled kosher salt in the pan before adding each batch of potatoes. They’re best when crisp, too, so if you want to be truly dedicated you can remove them from the pan and put them on wire cookie racks to cool.

While the sweet potatoes cooked, I cut the chicken into strips. 2 breasts should make 6-8 strips. Be sure to trim off any tendons or otherwise inedible bits. In a large bowl, I liberally coated the chicken with canola oil. In a separate cup, I mixed together the cumin, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, five spice powder, and about 1 tsp kosher salt. I mixed it all together to coat the chicken and set it aside.

Once the last of the potatoes were done, I put the chicken in the pan. I had 8 strips, so I did 4 at a time. Again, I salted the pan first. Add the chicken, and then DON’T TOUCH IT for at least 3 minutes. I averaged 3.5 minutes per side, but that’ll depend on how thick you cut your chicken strips.

As the last batch of chicken was cooking, I took my frenched onion and threw it into the now-empty chicken bowl. I tossed the onion around with my tongs to coat it with the remaining oil & spices. Once the chicken was done and set aside, I threw the onions in the pan & let them sear and sweeten. You just have to be sure to cook long enough to kill any nasty things that were lurking on the raw chicken. Maybe 4 minutes, with lots of stirring.

Last, but not least, I pushed the onions to the sides of the pan and used a little water to deglaze. Normally I’d use wine or chicken broth, but I was lazy and didn’t want to change the flavors I’d already created. Even without any thickener, I wound up with gooey brown goodness coating the onions.

The chicken came out crispy and golden-brown. The cumin I used was Indian rather than Mexican, so it has a fruity aroma to go with the smoky flavor. The cloves from the five spice powder helped to set that off. Even though the sweet potatoes rocked mightily, the chicken was the star tonight. I intended to make a salad to go with all that wonderful meat & starch, but as usual I forgot.