Although the official start of Autumn may still be a couple of days away, Georgia is decidedly cooler upon my return from the west coast. For the first time since I moved to the South at the start of July, there is a crispness to the air in the evenings. The stifling humidity has lifted, seemingly resigned to the impending arrival of Fall and the accompanying cooler days, cozy sweaters and earthy, comforting meals.
This is the season of roasting, baking and braising. Spicy soups and hearty stews simmering away. The aroma of fresh-baked breads and pastries filling the house. Sweet, roasted root vegetables shine. While many root vegetables – potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions and the like – are available in markets year-round, most begin to peak in early fall when colder weather sets in, converting their starches into sugar.
I am particularly fond of roasting sweet potatoes; the natural sugars in the little orange tubers caramelize especially well. I served them this week – roasted with honey and fresh rosemary – alongside my favorite pan-roasted chicken recipe. The sweetness of the potatoes balances the lemony-richness of the chicken, making for a hearty – and healthy – beginning-of-autumn meal.
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs honey
- 4- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Place sweet potatoes in a flat layer on a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Place rosemary sprigs on top of sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast, stirring occasionally for 35 to 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot.