Thursday, September 8, 2011

RECIPE: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle (WCN 09/2011)

We had some beautiful sweet potatoes in our mystery basket. We really just wanted to stare at them, but that would have made for some lousy radio. Fortunately I had made chili a few days earlier and thought to bring along the leftover chipotles so I could deploy one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Sweet potatoes
Chipotles in adobo sauce
Cream (milk, heavy cream, 1/2 and 1/2, even plain yogurt would be good)

Trim sweet potatoes, slice thick, and boil until soft. Drain and mash gently. Stir in some honey and a couple of chipotles, chopped, with plenty of the adobo hanging on them. Add a little cream, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust.

1.) Chipotles are pantry magic! The secret is that ridiculously tasty adobo sauce that they pack them in--far tastier than anything from a can should be. If you puree the peppers and the sauce up in a blender or food processor you can keep it covered in the fridge pretty much forever (hat tip to Bobby Flay). Start with a little of the chipotle and taste as you go; you're going for more smoky than hot.
2.) As with all potatoes, you want to mash them gently so you don't activate the gluten in them. Mash them just until they're mashed and then stir in the other ingredients.
3.) Despite the "sweet" moniker, sweet potatoes usually benefit from a little sweetening up. Honey worked well here; maple syrup would also be spectacular.
4.) You need very little cream here. If you just left it out it would probably be OK, but it will help take the hot edge off the chipotles (leaving more tangy and smoky flavor).

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