Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Your Monday meals just got a whole lot better…

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

If the fact that I made these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes multiple times in the span of a week isn’t a clear indication of why you should plan on making these TONIGHT, I don’t know what is.

As you can imagine, the life of a food blogger is constantly filled with new recipe ideas to try and different flavor combinations to test out. This makes it a very rare occurrence that a certain meal appears on repeat in our house. I find we have an endless supply of leftovers sitting in the refrigerator, and once we finish one thing it’s immediately replaced by one or more new dishes that I’ve been fine-tuning and getting ready to be photograph-able in the very near future.

When the hubs and I sat down to eat my first go-around with these sweet potatoes (which actually included sweet Italian sausage crumbles instead of pancetta – also super tasty, might I add) we started reminiscing about how much we loved sweet potatoes, and how much better they were than good ol’ white potatoes.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Having both grown up with moms that were raised on the East Coast, we remarked about how, when we were little, there were always regular baked or mashed potatoes on the table, but never our sweet, creamy sweet potato friends. The horrors! I guess now we’re trying to make up for lost time by making these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on repeat. Life could certainly be worse.

But guys, seriously, I could make these Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes forever and ever and ever. They are soooo good. And also really darn healthy. Can I get an “Amen?”

The other great thing about these sweet potatoes is that they come together fairly quickly with just a little bit of planning. The longest part of the process will be baking the potatoes, but you could even do this on Sunday during meal prep for the week (the plain baked sweet potatoes will last in the refrigerator for a few days), or just turn on the oven and pop them in right when you get home from work.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potatoes baked, all that’s left is to whip up the white bean and pancetta filling and the sweet, garlicky bruschetta topping. For the beans, you have two options. I had batch-cooked some dried flageolets I had in the pantry a couple days before, so I simply reheated those in the same pan that I crisped up the pancetta in (hey, there’s nothing like a little leftover pancetta grease to really flavor up some plain ol’ white beans.) But, if you really want to make this a quick and easy meal and aren’t in to the dried bean soak and batch cook, simply use canned white beans.

If you do use the canned white beans, feel free to leave them as is, or add in some rosemary and garlic when you’re reheating them in the pancetta pan. This will leave you with an unbelievable flavor bomb when said white beans are combined with the bright and flavorful bruschetta topping on top of the creamy, roasted sweet potato.

The bruschetta is classic and comes together with just a few ingredients. It’s exactly what you would make for the classic Italian crostini topping: peak season tomatoes, sharp, raw minced garlic, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of salt…and you’re set! No cooking required for this little step.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Once you have your sweet potato baked, your pancetta crisped, your white beans warmed and your bruschetta mixed, you’re ready to rock and roll. Slice open the sweet potato and mash it down just a tad to make an easy landing zone for the white beans and pancetta. Be generous here, no skimping on all of these mouthwatering flavors. Finish off your stuffed tater with a topping of tasty bruschetta, and you have a simple, light weeknight meal, perfect for any night of the week when a heavily-involved dinner just sounds like no fun at all.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, you’re my weeknight hero <3

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
A healthy, Italian-inspired stuffed sweet potato recipe with a fragrant white bean and pancetta mixture and zesty bruschetta topping.
Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • ½ white onion diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta or crumbled Italian sausage, or even tofu if you’re so inclined
  • 1 – 15-ounce can white beans drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups homemade white beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic separated (2 peeled and smashed, 2 minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups diced tomato about 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. First, bake the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce each potato about four times with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the potatoes feel soft to the touch. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Add pancetta to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat on your stove. Cook until pancetta just starts to turn crispy.
  3. Add white beans, the two smashed garlic cloves, and the fresh rosemary. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Finally, make the bruschetta. Combine the two minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Now it’s time to assemble. Slice each sweet potato in half and smash down slightly to make a good “cradle” for the toppings. Top generously with white bean and pancetta mixture and then finish off with bruschetta. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Note: This light dinner would pair well with a number of wines because of the multitude of flavors. A creamy Chardonnay, an herbal Sauvignon Blanc, or a light Pinot Noir would all be fantastic options with this meal.

Bruschetta, White Bean and Pancetta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Sweet potatoes on sweet potatoes…

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Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots

My bubbles obsession is real.

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirl Cooking

I may or may not be lying when I tell you I own two “Mornings are for Mimosas” shirts, one “I Sweat Champagne” shirt, and have recently (as of oh, two and a half weeks ago) retired my “Pop the Bubbly I’m Getting a Hubby” shirt. Totally normal, right?

Well, what SHOULD be totally normal is making Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots at least once a week for the foreseeable future. It’s still “fresh” enough to be considered a summer meal (if you have A/C and can afford to turn on your oven for significant amounts of time, that is) yet also “homey” enough to carry us through the fall. Because that’s what the month of August is all about, right? Figuring out how in the world we’re going to transition from long days at the beach, sandy hair and tan lines to earlier sunsets, cooler weather and back-to-school duties?

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirl Cooking

To be completely honest, I decided to make a roast chicken because I was in desperate need of some more homemade chicken stock. My freezer stash was at almost zero Tupperwares and I have become such a snob that, no, I do not want to just go to the store and buy a can or carton of the pre-made stuff. No siree, said this snobby food blogger, only the real deal for our household.

Speaking of homemade chicken stock (allow me to digress a bit)…Have you ever made your own? Let me tell you, if you haven’t, you are REALLY missing out. All you need is a slow cooker (I suppose a large pot on the stove would work as well, it just requires more babysitting), some chicken bones and whatever aromatic herbs and vegetables you have sitting in your refrigerator drawers (I often use onions or shallots, celery and carrots if I have them, and whatever fresh herbs I have on hand.) Oh, and water of course. Throw everything together in your pot and simmer away for eight or so hours and, voila! You have homemade chicken stock to stash in your freezer to use at any moment’s notice.

Okay, so I knew I needed to make a roast chicken, I had this fancy new roasting pan to break in (yay for wedding gifts!), and now I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with said roast chicken. My usual go-to roast chicken recipe is the Engagement Chicken from Glamour Magazine (have you tried it yet? Whether you’re hoping to become engaged or not, you most definitely should give it a shot.) But this time around, I wanted to do a little something to make it my own.

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirl Cooking

I started thinking about a turkey recipe I’d made before that used apple cider, which for some reason then made my mind wander to sparkling wine (see notes above on my slight obsession.) I figured the acidity and citrus-like flavors in the sparkling wine would pair beautifully with that comforting, savory flavor you get whenever you roast poultry. I also wanted to add some “accessories” if you will, so I decided to throw in some green grapes and big chunks of shallots to roast along with the chicken. Drippy, champagne-y gravy from roast chicken, meet grapes and shallots — heaven!!!

So, using my new ideas for this Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots, I still basically followed the directions for Engagement Chicken, because why mess up something that is so right? We simply pour the champagne/sparkling wine all over the little chick, stuff it with lemons AND oranges, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and pop it in the oven. There’s a little flip of the bird about 15 minutes into cooking, and then we add the grapes and shallots for about the last 15 minutes, but other than that, you set it and forget it!

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirl Cooking

I used a 6-pound bird, but you can toy around with that or just use whatever size they have at the store (I got my roaster at Costco.) Just remember to allow about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of bird, plus an additional 15 minutes at the end. After the first hour-and-a-half to two hours, just check the temperature every so often. You’ll want it to read 180 degrees before you pull the bird out of the oven.

Last note before I leave you with this amaze-balls recipe for Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots: Whatever you do, DO NOT DITCH THE GRAVY. Now, I guess I can’t really call it “gravy,” because I did not thicken it, separate it, what have you. I simply poured the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan into a gravy boat and then the hubs and I drizzled it over our chicken before we ate it. Soooooo delicious!!!! Don’t miss it. Please.

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirl Cooking

And that’s that! Pretty dang easy for such a beautiful-looking dish, don’t you think?

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 
A delicious, citrusy, champagne roast chicken served with roasted green grapes and shallots.Recipe adapted from Glamour's "Engagement Chicken."
Ingredients
  • 1 6- pound roaster chicken
  • ½ cup champagne or sparkling wine
  • Juice of ½ orange reserve other half of orange for stuffing chicken
  • Juice of ½ lemon reserve other half of lemon for stuffing chicken + 1 additional lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 shallots quartered
  • 2 cups green grapes halved
  • Fresh sage and thyme sprigs for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove innards from chicken and rinse with cold water. Let drain in a large colander for 2 minutes.
  3. Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan, breast side down. Pour champagne/sparkling wine all over and inside the chicken. Do the same with the orange and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the juiced orange and lemon halves, their unjuiced other halves, plus the additional lemon, and stuff inside the chicken. Prick the whole lemon a few times with a fork before stuffing it to help release the juices inside the chicken.
  5. Place chicken in oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove chicken from oven and, using tongs or wooden spoons, flip chicken over so that the breast side is now facing up.
  7. Return to oven and continue cooking until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the temperature after about an hour and a half. For the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add shallots and grapes to bottom of roasting pan.
  8. Once meat thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven. Transfer grapes and shallots to a serving platter first, and then transfer chicken so it sits in the middle of the grapes and shallots. Garnish with fresh sage and thyme sprigs. Use a carving fork and knife to serve.
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Note: When a recipe involves wine, one of the most natural pairings will always be more of the same wine! That being said, I’d highly recommend that you just serve up the rest of whatever bottle of sparkling wine or champagne you use for the chicken. You could also pair a lovely chardonnay that is either partially oaked or not oaked at all, as you want some acidity to pair with the citrus flavors in the bird and the herbs garnishing it.

 

Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots | CaliGirlCooking.com

Oh hey there crispy citrus-champagne-chicken skin…

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