Some days just call for comfort food, which is exactly what this is (plus, your kitchen will smell amazing). Root vegetables are abundant this time of year, so use whatever variety you like. Opt for fresh thyme for fragrant and beautiful presentation or substitute whole dried thyme leaves if you’re short on—pardon the pun—“thyme.”
· 2–3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
· 2–3 peeled turnips, cut into eighths
· 3–4 carrots, cut on the bias
· 6 shallots, sliced thick (red onions can be substituted)
· 6–8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
· 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, grade A or B (do not use pancake syrup)
· 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 teaspoons each: kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, combined
· 4–6 fresh thyme sprigs
· 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine potatoes, turnips, carrots, shallots, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix syrup, oil, half the salt and pepper mixture, and 1–2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (for quick removal, pinch your thumb and forefinger together at the small end of the sprig, moving in a quick downward motion to strip the leaves from the stem). Whisk well and pour over vegetables, using your hands to toss and coat thoroughly.
3. Arrange vegetables in a large glass baking dish. Bake for 30–40 minutes, stirring once, until just starting to soften.
4. With remaining salt and pepper, rub both sides of the chicken to create a “crust.” Place rubbed chicken on top of vegetable mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cook 15–20 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through, turning once halfway to brown evenly.
5. Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes before slicing in thick pieces. Arrange each plate with roasted vegetables and one sliced chicken breast, topping with additional fresh thyme leaves and drippings from the glass dish.
6. Serve with crusty whole-grain bread and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Wear slippers to the dinner table for maximum enjoyment.