Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges


I don't know about you, but for me and for the longest time, "sweet potatoes" conjured up images of mushy orange lumps poured out of a can, topped with a molten layer of charred mini-marshmallows. The only time I ever came in contact with a sweet potato was during the thanksgiving meal (their traditional venue), so I didn't really have to work hard to avoid them either. Like many of the other "scary" foods in the produce section (rutabaga anyone? Jicama?) I gave sweet potatoes a wide berth, and went straight for the more familiar Idaho potatoes.


This was, of course, a huge disservice to a totally delicious vegetable, because sweet potatoes, fresh (not canned) and not topped with high fructose corn syrup? Delicious! Nutritious! In addition to tasting wonderful (really), they pack a powerful nutritional punch. They are full of all kinds of healthy goodies, like beta carotene, vitamins C and B6, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Compared to white potatoes, they are a superfood! And add to that their low glycemic index, and you have one very body-friendly food, and did I mention how great they taste? Oh, I did. Well, just in case you forgot already, THEY TASTE REALLY GOOD.

This particular recipe is what got me turned onto sweet potatoes in the first place, and let me warn you: these are not your mother's sweet potatoes! Rich, sweet, smoky and spicy, these make a great snack or side dish. Try them with burgers, tacos, or grilled steaks, or try them as an afternoon snack.


Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
Adapted from Everyday Food

Tis the season for sweet potatoes, so they are at their best right now. Look for ones that are crisp and firm, without bruises or soft spots. Store them on the counter, and don't keep them around too long. Unlike white potatoes, they store for weeks, not months, and once they get old they will get tough and lose their flavor.

If you want this recipe to be even lower on the glycemic scale (or you don't eat sugar, etc. etc.), I am sure you could substitute agave nectar, honey, or even grade A maple syrup for the sugar. The chili isn't actually very spicy, so if you want your potatoes to have a little more kick, you can also add in 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.

3-4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 tablespoon fine sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshy ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 3-4 medium sweet potatoes into wedges, and arrange on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fine sugar, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Whisk with a fork, and drizzle over sweet potato wedges.

Toss to combine, and until potatoes are completely covered in the chili sauce.

Bake in preheated over for 15- 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, and let cool.