Friday, December 10, 2010

Sweet Potato Jumble

Jon and I were strolling through the produce department a few weeks ago when we spotted a deal on sweet potatoes. 14 cents a pound kiddies! Since they have a seemingly endless shelf life if properly stored we bought a bunch of them.

I have been scouring my cookbooks and online recipe forums for a new recipes-

I don't want mashed, overly sweetened, marshmallow drown sweet potatoes. (commonly referred to as sweet potato casserole)

I don't want pie. (though this is tasty)

I don't want overcooked chunks of potato swimming in a sea of butter and brown sugar syrup. (not my thing)

No, I want to explore the savory side of things.

There are some recipes out there, but they are mostly for sweet potato fries or baked sweet potatoes. I wanted something more complex.

Since there weren't many savory or mildly spicy recipes out there (or maybe people just don't want to share their recipes...) I made up some of my own. Basically, I took my butternut squash recipes and revamped them to fit sweet potatoes. Some times you just have to think outside of the box.

I made a sweet potato gratin of sorts for dinner last night that was a perfect side for our naked burgers. Yes, we like our burgers sans buns. Once in a while we have them with their bready counterpart, but mostly we like them straight up.

I don't like to do dishes. Seriously. So I make this entire dish in one pot. I love one pot wonders.

I can't wait to explore more with sweet potatoes :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Sweet Potato Bake
Serves 6
270 calories per serving

1 large sweet potato, peeled (about 1 lb)
2 large red skin potatoes, peeled( about 1 lb)
5 TBS precooked, packaged, real bacon pieces
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 TBS smart balance 50/50 butter
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz smoked provolone cheese
1/4-1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Slice all the potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices. Put the potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water. Lightly salt. I emphasize lightly. Potatoes seem to suck up a lot of salt for some reason.

Bring potatoes to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not cooked through. Drain and set to the side.

In the now empty pot-add your bacon pieces, onion, and garlic. Saute until bacon is crispy and onion is just starting to caramelize. Remove from pan.

Melt butter and flour together in the pot. Add milk, whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in cheeses and bacon/onion mixture. Once well incorporated, stir in parsley.

In a prepared 9x9 baking dish, layer half the potatoes. Pour half the cheese sauce over the potatoes. Top with the remaining potatoes. Pour the rest of the cheese over all. Wiggle the pan a bit to work the cheese into all the little nooks and crannies.

Cover with foil. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

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