Sweet potato week

Exciting! Really!

For this week of sweet potato recipes, I was really trying to come up with a punnier title (Week Potato Fries? Potato Sweek? Soo-weeeeeek Little Potatoes!). But they all sounded like they were taken from The Cat Who Wore A Pot On Her Head, so I just went with the mundane.

That is not to say, however, that the subject of this week’s post is boring. How could they be, with that vitamin-A-rich orange-hued flesh, decent amounts of potassium and manganese, and a more favorable glycemic index than white potatoes? And let’s not overlook the zillion ways they can be prepared. During this week alone, I’ve boiled, mashed, grated, shredded, and baked them; made them into breads, turnovers and hash; and served them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks.

As you can see, I’m not alone in my appreciation for these tasty tubers. While this loaf of sweet potato bread was baking, my son repeatedly asked if we could bring it to his room to cool, “so the cat doesn’t eat it.” Riiiight. I barely had time to snap a photo before Chair of the Junior Sweet Potato Enthusiast Club dove in to have a slice. And I can’t blame him – this bread comes out of the oven with a slightly crunchy crust and a sweet, soft, spiced center that is especially great with a little honey. The recipe is from Garden of Eating (pumpkin bread), via Public Radio Kitchen (who swapped in sweet potatoes).

This week’s theme also reminded me of a recipe from Serious Eats we made a while back: sweet potato turnovers with chard and gruyere cheese.

These are very easy to make, have a great savory flavor, and are very satisfying (read: filling; also read: not low calorie). One caveat: eaters should be aware that you’ll ingest half a day’s worth of saturated fat – there’s half a pie crust per serving. But I imagine there are lower fat pie crust dough options which could pare down the sat fat (not being a pastry whiz myself, I haven’t tried).

I explored the “sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes” angle while searching for recipes; while I ended up not going for things like fries or baked potatoes, I did like the idea of sweet potato hash browns. No one recipe sounded like “the one,” so I worked up a new one based on bits and pieces of others.

Although this experiment greatly tested my self-confidence – I panicked at one point & threw in some unplanned garam masala, thinking the hash looked blah – the end result was really tasty. What surprised me is that for all my attention to spice-related detail, in the end, the walnuts and pear were the most critical flavor elements.

Ready for this week’s list? Then set your sweet potatoes on pun (see? I’ve got nothing this week) and try your hand at these recipes:

  • Sweet potato bread, from Garden of Eating (here) via WBUR’s Public Radio Kitchen (here) – PRK used sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin; I used 1 cup of mashed sweet potato
  • Sweet potato, gruyere and chard turnovers, from Serious Eats (here)
  • Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, from Robyn Webb (here)
  • Curried sweet potato hash browns with pear (recipe follows below)
  • Quinoa pilaf with sweet potatoes, kale and bacon, from Serious Eats (here)
  • Chard and sweet potato gratin, from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese, from Smitten Kitchen (here) – I haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks fantastic.

And in the interest of self-promotion, let me direct you to a few more sweet potato recipes featured in earlier posts: curried sweet potato and apricot soup (in The Missing Week: Fruits & veggies) and curried lentils with sweet potato and chard (in Beans, beans, the magical week).

Curried sweet potato hash browns with pear (text file here)

This recipe is a mash-up of two curried sweet potato recipes: one from Petit Chef (here) and one from Group Recipes (here). These come out browned, but not super crispy. My guess is you could add more oil for frying if you want more crisp.

(4 servings, approx.160 calories each)

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large sweet potato, shredded in a food processor
1 large pear, cut into ½-inch chunks
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs olive oil

In a nonstick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the curry power, garam masala, brown sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Add the sweet potato and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pear, walnuts and brown sugar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are nicely browned.

One comment

  1. AyEssDub says:

    Can’t express how happy I am to see someone else take a crack at sweet potato hash browns. I gave it a go this week and, while promising, the results are bordering on inedible: give the potato credit, it can absorb grease like crazy.

    All to say that this recipe looks much better on all counts. Can’t wait.

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