I was never a big fan of sweet potatoes – I think it was all that brown sugar and marshmallow sweetness piled on top of an already kind of sweet tuber – then I had sweet potatoes marinated in tamari and ginger, halved and then grilled over a wood fire at Mustards Grill in Napa, California – heaven! I haven’t recreated that dish yet (or the OH!, so nice rabbit in black bean sauce), but I HAVE found some really good options for sweet potatoes that most decidedly do NOT call for brown sugar or marshmallows.
Sweet potato tacos were a nice surprise, the sweetness of the potato and the maple syrup cut by the Dijon and the chili powder; and this recipe, which I adapted from an Anne Burrell recipe used on Worst Cooks in America, was a perfect side to some really nice pork chops that I had marinated in apple juice and Dijon and tossed on the kitchen grill.
Anne’s recipe called for bacon – which I passed on, since we were already having the chops – and pumpkin seeds, which we were totally not stock on since, like, ermmm, ever (who keeps pumpkin seeds laying around the house?). In their place, I added unsweetened dried cherries and sliced almonds and never looked back…
•2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
•Extra-virgin olive oil
•Kosher salt – I used coarse sea salt
•1 large onion, diced
•2 Granny Smith apples, cored diced
•1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted if you like
•1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries
Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast until they are soft but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes – next time I make this, I’ll go ten minutes; I think ours were a bit too soft after fifteen. Remove from the oven and reserve.
Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil – I used my HUGE new 5 quart Calphalon pan and it worked out perfectly. Add the onion and almonds, season with salt and saute until the onions are very soft and aromatic.
Stir in the apples and some of the scallions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and dried cherries. Sauté until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and starting to become crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Garnish with additional scallions and serve.
Pork, sweet potatoes, and apple – what a perfect combination.