Friday, April 6, 2012

Twice Baked Cardamom Sweet Potatoes

As a child, my only exposure to sweet potatoes came in the form of a marshmallow and pecan studded mush swimming in brown sugar, honey and butter.  My young mind was agog to see such a sickly sweet side dish served up as a vegetable during the holidays.  For years, this was the only way a could fathom preparing the bright orange spud.

Then the spell was broken.  Sometime late in college I was introduced to the baked sweet potato.  Grated this first deviation from the holiday norm was also swimming in butter and brown sugar.  But the scales had fallen from my eyes.  Sweet potato fries with garlic cracked the facade even further.  Savory with sweet?  No brown sugar and cinnamon?  I needed more.   Sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and thyme, cheesy scalloped sweet potatoes,baked sweet potatoes topped with chili, sweet potato soups and stews, sweet potato pancakes...the doors had suddenly been flung wide open...

Now I use sweet potatoes far more regularly than russets, Yukon and even baby reds.

This recipe is a simple twist and a classic twice baked potato.  Indian spices remain one of my favorite pairings with this beautiful root vegetable.

the recipe is my own

yields 4 side servings

The Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 russet potato
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
1/2 tsp salt

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 400. 
Pierce each potato in several places with a skewer the tines of a fork.  Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the potatoes and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until tender. They should yield slightly when pressed.  Remove potatoes from the oven, and turn the reduce the oven heat down to 350.

Allow the potatoes to rest until cool enough to handle.  Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch shell.  Reserve the flesh. Set the sweet potato shells aside in a baking dish.  Remove the flesh from the russet potato, reserving with the sweet potato flesh.  Discard the skin.

In medium bowl, combine the potato flesh, yogurt, salt, cumin, and cardamom.  Mix until well blended.  Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, mounding slightly. 

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minute or until the potato skins begin to crisp and the top a lightly golden.  Serve with a dusting of cumin or cardamom powder.

The Review:
Savory, sweet and slightly salty.   The potatoes were a huge hit with our dinner guests, despite the lack of presentation.  Sweet potatoes do seem to have an elevating effect on the whole meal...

The cardamom is a warm spice that most people can't quite place.  It hinted at cinnamon, particularly when paired with the sweetness of the potato, but the flavor is so distinct.  Slightly exotic.  But again, so familiar.  It is a great substitute for cinnamon whenever I want to push people slightly out of their culinary comfort zone.

The garlic and cumin heated things up a bit and took the dish out of the realm of the typical sweet potato prep.  No brown sugar and marshmallows here!

1 comment:

  1. These look tasty and the only switch I would make is for soy yogurt - great combination of flavors. :)