Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweet Potatoes, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Until recently, I was an avid sweet potato hater. Memories of the infamous slimy orange casserole topped with marshmallows at Thanksgiving pretty much ruined any potential relationship with that particular tuber for the last 20+ years.

But somehow sweet potatoes and I have managed to reconcile our differences and meet halfway. They promised not to be slimy, and I put on my big girl panties and promised to give them a shot. We're good friends now.

I feel like I arrived late to a party, but that's sort of how I roll. I didn't own a cell phone until 2003, and I didn't have bangs again until 2 years ago. But I will never wear skinny jeans. I will never attend that party.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few of my favorite sweet potato recipes with you. Besides being quite tasty, sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables there are. They're packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They also rate low on the glycemic index, which means eating them won't make your blood sugar go crazy like white potatoes do. And I love how they can be served in something sweet as well as something savory. Way to go, orange spuds. (I'm from Idaho. I'm allowed to say "spud" without ridicule, thanks.)

These waffles are slightly denser than regular waffles, but not as much as you'd think. They're laced with cardamom, which is a spice comparable to the cinnamon/clove/nutmeg flavor profile, but much more exotic tasting. If you don't have (or like) cardamom, simply substitute cinnamon.

Sweet Potato Waffles
from Taste of Home

1-½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1-½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup chopped pecans, optional
Maple syrup, optional

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sour cream, sweet potatoes, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans, if using. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold gently into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown. Serve with syrup. Yield: 10 waffles or about 5 Belgian-style waffles.

Print Recipe Text Only

Sweet potato fries go with ANYTHING. Seriously. My husband likes them more than regular french fries. This particular blend of spices was great, but you could use anything you wanted on top. A mixture of chili powder, cumin, and garlic is also fabulous.

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2002 by Smitten Kitchen

1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground coriander of you aren't grinding them up)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (the latter will make them quite spicy, so add according to your preferences)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Coarsely grind coriander, fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir together spices and salt.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges. (I cut them thinner, like french fries.) Toss potatoes with oil and spices in a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven. Turn wedges over with a spatula and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. If you find that they're cooked through, but aren't very crisp, just broil them for the last 2-3 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1. Don't expect them to come out as crisp as french fries. They're still soft and bendable, but have a firmer "crust" on the outside when they're finished baking.

Print Recipe Text Only

I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, Pioneer Woman's new recipe community. I've met so many wonderful people and found some absolute recipe gems on that site. Go check it out if you have a minute! Angela from Your Everyday Mama submitted this recipe to the site and was lucky enough to have it featured on the front page for a day! She also has a gorgeous food blog.

This soup was sweet and smokey with just the right amount of heat. I froze half of the soup (it makes a lot) and was grateful to have it a few days ago for a quick, easy dinner. I also roasted a couple of extra potatoes to save for waffles later in the week!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
adapted from Your Everyday Mama via Tasty Kitchen

4 whole sweet potatoes, roasted and cubed
2- ½ cups corn, fresh or frozen
8 slices bacon
1 cup leeks, sliced and rinsed well
1 whole sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram or 2 tsp dried
2 boxes chicken stock (32oz each), divided
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped
1- ½ cup heavy cream

Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees F, until fork tender. Once soft, peel and cube.

Fry bacon in a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot. Once crispy, remove and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pot. Add leeks, onion, corn, thyme and marjoram to the pot, stirring constantly until tender. Add cubed sweet potatoes, 1-1 1/2 boxes of chicken stock, and chipotle peppers; simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2-1/3 of the soup. (Or transfer to a blender and do the same. You'll want to leave some of the corn and potato cubes whole.)

Simmer chowder for another 10 minutes, then add heavy cream and combine well. If your chowder seems too thick, add more chicken stock and/or water to thin until you reach the desired consistency. Top with crumbled bacon.
Tips: Serve with corn chips or a nice crusty french loaf.

Nat's Notes:
1. Try freezing the remainder of your chipotle peppers to use later. Take an ice tray and place one pepper inside each compartment. Add some of the sauce to each so it freezes neatly. When they're frozen, remove from the ice tray and place in a freezer bag for storage.

Print Recipe Text Only


  1. Thanks for these recipes...and for admitting you were a sweet potato hater too! I always HATED them until someone made some yummy dessert with them last year that I got to taste...and after I had some sweet potato fries. I can totally see me trying the roasted potato recipe!

  2. Oooooo, that soup sounds SOOOOOOOOOO good. I have to say that I've always been a fan of sweet potatoes. I also love that they can sweet or savory!

  3. haha I only started liking sweet potatoes when I was young because they were slimy and covered in marshmallows!! Great recipes!

  4. I only started liking sweet potatoes about three years ago, after trying some sweet potato fries. Now I LOVE them, but never know what to do with them! Thanks for this post!!! YOU ROCK!

  5. Same here! I hated them until I tried them w/ pineapple and brown sugar. Thanks for the great recipes! The waffles are a good way to "sneak" these healthy veggies into our home!


We love comments! Please let us know you stopped by.