Monday, June 4, 2012

loaded sweet potato

Sweet potatoes, I'm learning, are a bit of an acquired taste. Maybe it's that a lot of people's exposure to sweet potatoes started with that marshmallow topped casserole from the thanksgivings of our youth. And that was it, until scientists discovered sweet potato fries 7 or 8 years ago and then big sweet potato started pushing them on restaurants.*

If you went to someone's house and they served that godawful awful slop any day but thanksgiving, you would assume that aliens had come down and inhabited the bodies of your friends. That would be the one element that tipped you off. Something's not right here. No human would do that. Then you'd have to act like you didn't know that they were aliens & eventually you'd blow one of them up. I don't envy you.

you won't always be this awkward and unattractive, sweet potato
But sweet potatoes, turns out, are pretty versatile. Blah blah blah. If you hate sweet potatoes, you will hate this recipe. I'm not gonna proselytize you on sweet potatoes. Run along. Play some Sega Genesis. If you don't hate sweet potatoes...yeah. You can use 'em a lot like potatoes. As fries, scalloped, in soups, (although they won't do this) etc*. And baked, which is what this is.

Whoever came up with the loaded baked potato, I'd like to shake his or her hand. And then travel back in time and steal the idea from them. Its just... I can't think of a way to improve on it. They got it right. And you can similarly load up a sweet potato. Obviously they're different than potatoes, so you want to consider that in how you treat them. A baked sweet potato's texture leaves something to be desired. Unlike a baked russet potato, which know what it's like, a baked sweet potato is mushy and stringy, collapsing a little when relieved of some of it's moisture. It needs help. It needs a culinary tit-job. Mixing greek yogurt together with the sweet potato flesh gives it some body, a more pleasing texture and a tartness that compliments the sweet potato's, wait for it, sweetness. It's really a loaded twice baked sweet potato, but no one's gonna read a recipe with a title longer than a tweet.

Note: This is a full meal. Choose sweet potatoes that are roughly the same volume as a potato you'd eat all of. also, you could certainly go the route of the traditional loaded baked potato-- chives, bacon, butter, sour cream, cheese--but barbecued pork, leftover chili (which is what i did) or just cheese and bacon** work better for this.

loaded sweet potato
(makes 1 loaded sweet potato or just a baked sweet potato if you unload it)

1 sweet potato
greek yogurt, 2-3 tbsp
something to top it with

preheat oven to 425.

poke a few holes in the sweet potato with a fork so it doesn't explode in the oven. or, if you want it to explode, don't.

bake for an hour. check it. it should be a bit mushy and the flesh should be separating from the skin at the top. if its not ready, put it back in & check it every 10  minutes until it's done.

split the sweet potato open & pull the skin back slightly. dollop on the yogurt & carefully mix flesh and yogurt together, fluffing it a bit.

top with chili, bbq, cheese, a whole rotisserie chicken...whatever you have leftover. you can do everything ahead up to this point.

pop back into hot oven (350 is always safe for reheating) and reheat until completely warmed through & cheese, if you used it, is melted on top.

i bet i looked like an ass trying to get this shot
*not that i'm complaining, i love sweet potato fries especially from these two (a & b) greenville ave joints.
*you can make chips with either tuber using the microwave. i find this method is kinda difficult and time consuming-- you have to break it into so many batches-- but when they don't burn (oh and they go from done to burnt in a second), they turn out pretty good.
**much like a regular twice baked potato. use a mild cheese with sweet potatoes.

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