Tag Archives: sweet potato

Baked Sweet Potato

Baked sweet potato

Baked sweet potato

The trouble with cooking is that even the simplest of tasks can unexpectedly end up going wrong.

British cookery writer Delia Smith famously went to great lengths to instruct the nation on the finer points of boiling an egg. Even something so seemingly easy as dunking an object in hot water for a specified period of time has to be done correctly.

Many a slip between cup and lip, and all that.

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Sweet Potato and Prosciutto Chips

Sweet potato chips

Sweet potato chips

Let’s not beat about the bush here – when it comes to “hitting the spot” these wonderful wee snacks are pure cruise missile.

This to me is the very essence of Paleo – simple, good quality ingredients, prepared with an absolute minimum of fuss, and yet packed to the rafters with taste.

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Leek, Bacon, And Sweet Potato Soup

Leek, bacon, and sweet potato soup

Leek, bacon, and sweet potato soup

That’s the drawback with eating out – no leftovers for lunch the next day.

I was getting somewhat bored with my default “no-leftovers-for-lunch” lunch – a mackerel, spinach and broccoli salad, so much so in fact that I was starting to tire of opening the tin and flaking the fish.

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Roast sweet potato wedges

Roast sweet potato wedges

Roast sweet potato wedges

These make for a drop-dead easy and flexible accompaniment / side dish.

Simply lube up the little darlings in a splash of flavoured oil, hoy them into a hot oven, and forget about them until the timer rings.

This gives you more time to concentrate on your starter, main course, and dessert, safe in the knowledge that your guests won’t be bad-mouthing your choice of side dish in their cab during the ride home.

This version works very well with an Indian curry, as an alternative to or support act for cauliflower rice, but you can obviously tailor the flavouring of the oil to whatever main course you are preparing.


 

Roast sweet potato wedges

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, ends cut off and scrubbed clean
  • about 4 tbsp olive oil
  • about 2 tsp curry powder

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 ° C.
  • Cut the sweet potato into wedges, each one being ⅛ the size of the whole beastie.
  • Mix the oil and curry powder well, to form a thin, oily, paste.
  • Brush the bottom of a small roasting pan and each individual wedge with a little oil.
  • Place in the oven, and roast for about 45-50 minutes, until the wedges have a nice colour, a somewhat crispy exterior, and a soft, fluffy interior.

Pork, sage, and onion burgers with Portobello mushroom buns

Pork sage and onion burger with Portobello mushroom buns

Pork, sage, and onion burger with Portobello mushroom buns

I’d wanted to try out the concept of the Portobello mushroom burger “bun” for some time now.

It’s one of those brilliant Paleo vegetable-based replacements, such as zucchini pasta or cauliflower rice, but one that I hadn’t got around to playing with yet.

I think I was waiting for a burger fit to team them up with, a new recipe.

And so it came to pass that over a pot of Oolong tea and a slightly over-ripe conference pear that inspiration struck.

The flesh of a good pig was needed. Yes, minced pork. And what goes well with pork? Sage and onion, mais naturellement!

Garlic by the fistful? A lovely smoky, hot, Spanish paprika? Bring it on!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner…..


 

Pork, sage, and onion burgers with Portobello mushroom buns

Makes 8 burgers

Ingredients

  • Portobello mushrooms – 2 for each burger
  • 800g minced pork
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • smoked Spanish paprika

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together the minced pork, sage, onion, garlic, Dijon mustard, egg, 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika, and black pepper to taste.
  • Take a ball of the meat mixture larger than a golf ball but not quite as large as a tennis ball. Flatten it into a burger shaped disk, about as thick as your finger. Repeat for the rest of the mixture. You should get about 8 burgers from 800g pork.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the burgers in batches, giving them 6 minutes per side, 12 minutes in total. Repeat for the rest of the burgers.
  • Prepare the Portobello mushroom buns. Wipe or brush them clean, then trim back the stalks. Brush a little olive oil on to the top of the cap, and then place them gill-side up on baking parchment on a baking tray. Drizzle over a small amount of olive oil, and then season with smoked Spanish paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or so, but keep a close eye on them after the 10 minute mark.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and then carefully lift them up with a plastic spatula and a wooden spoon, in order to drain off the excess water that will have come out of them during baking.
  • Plate up. Simply use a pair of mushrooms as you would use burger bread-buns, with one beneath the pork burger, and one above it. Serve, together with sweet potato fries.

Notes

During our post-dinner discussion, it was suggested that a small amount of grated apple might work well in the burgers.

I kept the presentation side of things as simple as possible here, as you no doubt have noticed.

This was intentional – it was the first outing for this particular burger recipe, and it was also a début for the Portobello mushroom burger-bun, too. A stripped back, minimalistic presentation, I believe, allows you to figure out if the taste and texture of a new dish works as is, without what may be complicating factors from garnishes, sauces, etc. Chalk one up for a background in experimental procedure.

Both Mrs. Paleovirtus and Paleovirtus Jr. were impressed with both burger and buns alike, which in the case of Paleovirtus Jr. is quite extraordinary, seeing as she is usually to be found heading in the opposite direction at a rapid rate of knots whenever mushrooms appear on a menu.

One improvement that would be nice both as far as the taste and appearance of the top “bun” goes would be the addition of sesame seeds. Getting them to stick to the surface of the bun without adding any substance that would otherwise spoil the bun’s taste or texture, such as lemon juice or even more oil, might prove to be tricky, however.

As far as sauces and other garnishes go, the consensus seemed to be that in this case less really would be more, and that the taste of the burgers would best be served by a tomato based,  smoky, “BBQ” type of sauce.

Bacon was also named as a possible garnish, too, a cut with a smoky, possibly sweet-ish character. Watch this space, as they say.

Luscious leftovers – Phul Gobi Shakarkand Molee

Phul Gobi Shakarkand Molee

Phul Gobi Shakarkand Molee

First things first – apologies to my Hindi speaking friends, if I have rendered the language un-intelligible as regards the name of the dish.

Some dishes, such as the legendary Bubble & Squeak, were originally nothing more than crafty, thrifty, cooks re-using leftovers in a creative and clever way to produce a tasty treat.

When it came to my lunch-time the other day, I simply couldn’t be bothered to even think about trying to make anything from scratch.

I opened the fridge, resigned to eating whatever I could pull out of it that required minimal effort on my part.

5 minutes later I had lunch bubbling merrily away in my wok, and a big, fat, grin on my face.

 

 


 

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 portion of leftover sauce from a Chicken Molee
  • 1 portion leftover cooked sweet potato
  • 1 portion leftover steamed cauliflower

Method

Simply heat the sauce, adding a touch more water if necessary.

Add the sweet potato and cauliflower, taking care that they are just heated through, and not subject to further cooking, as this may leave them prone to mushification, which should be avoided at all costs.

Notes

This was a very tasty and interesting experiment. Since making the transition to a Paleo based regime, I hadn’t cooked and eaten one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes, Aloo Gobi, potato and cauliflower curry.

Just as in the case of Saag Aloo, or spinach and potato curry, the sweet potato has proved, to my satisfaction at least, that it can be a drop-in replacement for ordinary potatoes, as far as these 2 curries go, in any case.

This dish worked so well, however, that in future I think I’ll stick to preparing it with this type of “molee” style sauce, rather than the more usual tomato based sauce a classic aloo gobi is cooked in.

Saag Shakarkand

Saag Shakarkand

Saag Shakarkand

In my pre-Paleo days, the Indian dish saag aloo, potato and spinach curry, was firmly located in my top 10 hit-list of go-to meals. Cheap, filling, tasty, quick, easy to cook – it ticks a lot of important boxes.

It’s also versatile – as is the case with so many Indian vegetarian dishes it works both as a side dish, or as a main course in its own right.

Saag aloo is not exactly a fine-dining dish, though, it has to be said.

It’s a workaday staple, unglamourous to be sure, homely, even, but always solid and reliable. Not the culinary equivalent of a Porsche, or a Ferrari, but a family runaround Nissan that gives many years of faithful service, and is good on gasoline.

From a Paleo perspective, the potato was obviously a problem. The equally obvious answer was to see how well sweet potato worked as a replacement.

It turns out that it works superbly!


 

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 200g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 nice big hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • coconut oil
  • lemon juice
  • garam masala

Method

  • Boil the sweet potato cubes until just tender, 8 – 10 minutes or so depending on the size of the cubes. Refresh, drain, then set aside.
  • Wilt the baby spinach in batches in a microwave oven. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat in a non-stick wok or pan.
  • Add the onion. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
  • Add the ginger and fresh chillies. Continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic, chilli powder, and turmeric. Continue to stir fry for 2 minutes, adding a splash of water if the contents of the pan start to feel as though they are sticking.
  • Add just enough water to the pan to form a little sauce / gravy. Add the sweet potato cubes and wilted spinach to the pan, and heat through, a minute or so at most.
  • Serve, dressed with garam masala and lemon juice to taste.