How about a little tuber education? As I was thinking about this recipe for BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, I started doing some research to answer an age-old question: what’s a sweet potato, and what’s a yam? Imagine my surprise when I read in this authoritative article that “sweet potatoes are not a type of yam, and yams are not a type of sweet potato. They are both tuberous root vegetables that come from a flowering plant, but they are not related and actually don’t even have a lot in common.”
Apparently, what I think of as regular old sweet potatoes–the oblong, orange-fleshed vegetables in these photos and commonly found on your Thanksgiving table–are merely “soft” sweet potatoes, as opposed to “firm” sweet potatoes, which have a golden skin and white flesh. Yams, on the other hand, have a black, bark-like skin and purple or red flesh.
And can we just take a moment to say that “flesh” is not the greatest word to describe anything edible.
Regardless of terminology, however, these BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are one of my new favorite fall dinners. They’ve got a lot going on: potatoes baked to tender perfection meet sweet barbecue chicken and stretchy melted Monterey Jack (plus some spinach thrown in for extra nutrition). With veggies, starch, and protein all in one package, I’m content to call them a one-dish dinner–or round out the meal with a loaf of rustic bread. They’re also a clever way to use up leftover barbecue chicken, or to make a double-duty dinner out of a large batch of crock pot barbecue chicken earlier in the week.
BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 3/4 c. barbecue sauce, divided
- 5 sweet potatoes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 5 c. fresh spinach
- 4 oz. Monterey Jack or sharp white cheddar
- Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Top with 1/4 c. barbecue sauce and cook on high for 4 hours. Remove chicken, drain of excess liquid, and shred. Return to slow cooker, stir in remaining 1/2 c. barbecue sauce, and cook an additional 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes and prick with a fork. Bake about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- While potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add spinach and saute until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove potatoes from oven and slice in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with foil and place potatoes on it. Mash potatoes lightly and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Top with wilted spinach and shredded chicken. Shred Monterey Jack directly onto potatoes.
- Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.