spatchcock chicken
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Dinner,  Instant Pot,  Side Dish

Za’atar Chicken with Instant Pot Sweet Potato Smash

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Spatchcock chicken is easily my favorite cooking technique.  I have posted about the general technique in a previous post so I won’t rehash the process here.  My favorite thing about it though is how quickly you can do a proper roast chicken.  It takes only an hour, you can work out some frustration, and you can vary up the spices.  This recipe is especially perfect, given that we seem to have gotten a snap cold front in DC. Interestingly, I think I have landed on Za’atar as my favorite spice mix to use on a roast chicken.  It packs a lot of flavor, you don’t have to mix, and honestly it goes with just about everything.  This time around I melted the butter instead of going with more of a soft compound butter.  I liked the end result better, I got more even spice distribution and better browning (also the oven was a slightly higher temp).  I did an apple-shallot base for the chicken and added some Bourbon to the pan at the end to impart the aromas and provide flavor to the sauce.
sweet potato mash
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The highlight of this post really should be the Sweet Potato Smash.  I almost never eat sweet potatoes, since the texture and sweetness are usually a bit much for me.  To make these more to my liking, I added a decent amount of cinnamon, red pepper flake, and some dairy to create something more in my preferred flavor profile.  For perspective, I would much rather have chips or a pretzel to almost any dessert, something Rob makes fun of me for.  I steamed the potatoes in the Instant Pot, which probably cut the cook time in half.  It was great pulling the potatoes out and the skin just peeled right off!

Wine Paring: Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

chicken sweet potato mash
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This was a wine that we find pretty routinely at our local Whole Foods in a reasonable price range ($10-12 typically).  I would put it in the weeknight wine with a nicer dinner category (a little much for say, getting you through the Bachelor).  For the price point and general availability, its one of the better wines that I have had. I would even put this against some twice its price, and the clean look of the bottle makes it look the part if trying to impress.  Tasting wise, the Joel Gott fits the Sauvignon Blanc category well, which is to say its bright and crisp with a hint of fruit.  I often find that less expensive Sauv Blancs start to get a bit oaky or buttery, which I am not a fan of, so I consider this a great wine by that standard. 

Za'atar Spatchcock Chicken with Sweet Potato Smash

A fun winter take on one of my all-time favorite recipes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Rest Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: Bourbon, chicken, Mashed Potato, Potato, spatchcock, sweet potato, yam
Servings: 4 People



  • 4-5 Lb Chicken Spatchocked (see instructions)
  • 3 Tbs Butter melted
  • 1 Tbs Za'atar
  • 1 Shallot cut into thin slices
  • 1 Apple cut into thin slices
  • 3 Oz Bourbon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Sweet Potato Smash

  • 4 Sweet Potatoes medium sized
  • 1.5 Cups Water
  • 3 Tbs Butter melted
  • 1/2 Cup Half & Half warmed
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flake
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste



  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Arrange the shallot and apple slice in a layer on the bottom of a skillet.
  • Salt and pepper the underside of the chicken, then place it skin side up in the skillet.
  • Coat the top in the mixture of the butter, za'ater, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast for 45 minutes.
  • Remove, add the bourbon around the edges to deglaze. Roast for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes and carve.

Sweet Potatoes

  • Place the water and a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. Poak holes with a fork in the top of the potatoes.
  • Arrange the potatoes in the steamer basket.
  • Secure the lid, use the MANUAL setting with HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Press CANCEL at the end, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes then release any remaining pressure via the valve.
  • Remove the skin from the potatoes and smash with a fork or masher.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.

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