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[RECIPES] Sweet Potatoes Two Ways

These recipes, originally posted in December 2012, have stood the test of time.

Courtesy April Wardlow

For generations, sweet potatoes have been a staple on our holiday table.  Whether they’re mashed and topped with marshmallows or baked in a pie crust, we’ve managed to incorporate the vegetable in almost every course. Besides their being in season during the fall, sweet potatoes are commonly used during the holidays because of their rich flavor and vibrant color.  I have always been a fan of sweet potatoes, but I got a little tired of seeing them used the same way year after year.  So after some experimenting, I managed to create two recipes that incorporate “the other potato” in some unique ways.

The first recipe is for Sweet Potato Home Fries.  After seeing a sweet potato hash recipe online, I was inspired to swap sweet potatoes into my normal recipe for home fries.  The result: a new favorite brunch dish that will be sure to impress your guests during the holiday season.  Second, I decided to combine my two favorite desserts, sweet potato pie and cheesecake, and my Sweet Potato Cheesecake was born! The rich color and creamy texture makes it an irresistible dessert.

Whether you try one of these sweet potato recipes or both, I promise you’ll be bringing something different to the table that everyone will enjoy!

Sweet Potato Home Fries

Ingredients: (make 4-5 servings)

  • 3 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or regular)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Nonpork Eaters: Simply eliminate the bacon, and sauté the veggies in 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil.

Directions:

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and add to a medium-sized pot.   Cover the potatoes with cold water and place over high heat.  Once water begins to boil, set timer and allow potatoes to boil for 7 minutes.  (Any longer and the potatoes will be mushy.)

While potatoes are boiling, cook bacon strips in a deep frying pan until crispy (about 2-3 minutes per side).  Remove bacon strips from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the diced pepper and onion right into the bacon fat, and sauté for about 4 minutes or until softened.  Add the garlic, and sauté for a minute more.

By this time, the potatoes should be done.  Drain potatoes, then add them to the pan with the pepper, onion and garlic.  Season with paprika, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Allow potatoes to fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next, dice the bacon strips, add them to the potatoes and stir to combine.

Transfer potatoes to a serving platter or bowl ,and serve with eggs or your favorite breakfast meats.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 6-10 graham cracker squares, crushed
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

Filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 20 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups sweet potato puree (See recipe below)

For best results: This cheesecake needs to set overnight so make it the night before you want to serve.  Also, make sure all refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature by setting them out 1-2 hours prior to mixing.

Special cooking tools: springform pan, large standing mixer, food processor

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan, pushing some along the sides as well.  Bake crust for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and allow the crust to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, vanilla, heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice, then set mixture aside.  Next, using a large mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream, at medium speed, for 1 minute, then add cream cheese, sugar and, finally,  the sweet potato puree.  Once those ingredients have been combined, gradually add in the egg mixture in 2-3 batches, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl before each batch.  Once everything has combined, stop the mixer.  Pour batter over the graham cracker crust.

Place the cheesecake in the middle of a large roasting pan.  Pour boiling water (about a tea kettle full) into the roasting pan around the cheesecake to create a steam bath (this promotes even cooking).  Bake cheesecake for 90 minutes, and allow it to cool.  Once cheesecake is at room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill overnight.

Sweet Potato Puree

Ingredients: (makes 2-3 cups depending on size of sweet potatoes)

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet, rub the skin with oil and roast in the oven until softened (about 60-75 minutes).  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, peel skin off the sweet potatoes and put the flesh into a food processor.  Puree for 2-3 minutes and empty into a bowl.

Puree can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

April Wardlaw is a self-taught cook who caters and bakes part time.  You can find more of her recipes on her blog: www.aprilscookin.blogspot.com

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