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Author Notes: One of my greatest idols is Ruth Reichl, a clever writer who delightfully manages to approach food with just the right balance of weightiness and sense of humor, the latter often a rare commodity among “serious” authors. I love Reichl’s recipes, I love her storytelling, and I always benefit from her vast knowledge. This recipe—a rhapsody for sweet, bitter, and salty—is based on one of hers, published in Gourmet Today, a selection from the sadly defunct Gourmet magazine, which Reichl edited for many years. Recipe from Plenty More (Ten Speed Press, 2014). —Yotam Ottolenghi
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (the juice of 4 to 5 oranges)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Angostura bitters
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 5 sweet potatoes, unpeeled, halved crosswise, each half cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
- 2 red chiles, split open along the center
- 3 sage sprigs
- 10 thyme sprigs
- 2 heads garlic, unpeeled and halved horizontally
- 3 ounces goat cheese log, broken into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Place the orange juice in a saucepan with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-high and simmer fairly rapidly for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and reduced to scant 1 cup (about the amount in a large glass of wine). Add the bitters, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
- Place the potatoes in a large bowl, add the chiles, sage, thyme, and garlic, and then pour in the reduced sauce. Toss well so that everything is coated and then spread the mixture out in a single layer on a baking sheet on which it fits snugly, about 12 by 16 inches.
- Place in the oven and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, turning and basting the potatoes every 15 minutes or so. They need to remain coated in the liquid in order to caramelize, so add more orange juice if the pan is drying out.
- At the end, the potatoes should be dark and sticky. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before arranging on a platter and dotting with the goat cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.