Celebration Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Dates: A simple one-pan Shabbat dinner that serves a small crowd

Julia Turshen’s approach to a classic Friday night dinner has us wondering why we hadn’t done this all along.

Julia Turshen’s approach to a classic Friday night dinner has us wondering why we hadn’t done this all along

(Photo credit: David Loftus)

Though it comes around every Friday, Shabbat dinner still manages to feel celebratory thanks to the multi-dish spread, wine and fresh challah that often come with it. Of course, preparing all that food before sundown on a weeknight can sometimes be a struggle, which is why we were drawn to this one-pan approach from Julia Turshen’s cookbook Now & Again. The chicken, sweet potatoes and dates cook all together for a flavourful feast that’s so much simpler than the alternative. Serve with a nice green salad, and your weekly meal is all taken care of!

Celebration Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Dates

By Julia Turshen


  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Two 3- to 4-lb chickens, each cut into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 breasts cut in half across the bone), backbone discarded (or saved for another use, like stock), at room temperature
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, about 2 lb total, unpeeled, scrubbed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 12 large dried dates (preferably Medjool), halved and pitted
  • A small handful of chopped fresh soft herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, and/or chives all work well)


In a large roasting pan, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, water, garlic, salt, and pepper (you want a pan that’s big enough to hold all of the chicken pieces in a single layer; a disposable aluminum pan is good for this if your roasting pan isn’t large enough). Add the chicken pieces, sweet potatoes, and dates. Use your hands to mix everything together and get the marinade on all of chicken, sweet potatoes, and dates. Warning: the following is a bit messy, but bear with me. Move everything around so the sweet potatoes and dates are in a single layer on the bottom of the pan and the chicken pieces, skin-side up, are in a single, even layer on top.

Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender (test with a fork or a paring knife) and the chicken pieces are firm to the touch and their exposed skin is nicely browned, about 1 hour. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

To serve, transfer the chicken, sweet potatoes, and dates to a large serving platter and pour all of the cooking juices over the top (or serve directly from the roasting pan, giving everything a little mix first). Sprinkle with the herbs and serve warm.

Excerpted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen. Photography by David Loftus. Recipes Copyright © 2018. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 8-10 servings


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