Remember the loaded potato bar craze? This hearty riff is a weeknight meal’s dream found when I ran across a food article in Better Homes & Gardens. We made several modifications such as a combo of shredded cheddar and jack cheeses, more ground beef (which BTW, you could also use ground turkey), an extra scallion, and added a teaspoon of chipotle powder.
As far as microwaving the sweet potatoes, not a fan. Often they come out inconsistent as to the softness throughout. Of course, if you are pressed for time, that might be the way to go. Ours took 60 minutes in a 400° oven (time to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine).
It’s a personal preference whether or not you eat the potato skins. I for one, don’t mind them and get extra fiber from doing so, The Hubs, not so much. If you have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, although it’s best to keep all of the layers separate.
12 oz. to 1 lb. lean ground beef (you decide how much meat)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder
15-oz. can black bean fiesta, undrained
4 medium sweet potatoes
1+ cup grated cheddar cheese (or a jack and cheddar mix)
1⁄2 cup sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced
In a two-quart sauce pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add drained salsa for 3 minutes.
Add the meat and chili powder. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked throughand beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in reserved salsa liquid and beans with their liquid. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to cook the sweet potatoes, wash and pat dry. Prick each spud four times with a fork; microwave on high for 15 minutes, flipping once during cooking. (Alternatively, bake the potatoes in a 400° oven for 45-60 minutes.)
Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. If not tender enough, continue to microwave in one-minute increments until tender.
Split open the potatoes and gently squeeze to create a central cavity. Place on plates.
Spoon chili over potatoes and top with cheese, sour cream and scallions.
This colorful side dish features an unusual combination of flavors; the inspiration comes from a recipe in “365,” a cookbook by German food blogger Meike Peters. Earthy sweet potatoes pair well with the subtle citrusy notes of coriander and the fruitiness of orange juice, while savory onion, spicy cayenne and salty olives balance the natural sugars. Although we skipped the olives altogether this time in reference to the rest of the meal.
We love the texture and flavor pop of lightly crushed coriander seeds; a mortar and pestle are the best tools for the task but the bottom of a heavy skillet works, too; OR put them in a small ziploc and mash with a heavy meat club. If you prefer, you can use 1 tablespoon ground coriander in place of the seeds, but it will require less than a minute to bloom in the oil.
Don’t use a narrow saucepan or pot for this recipe. The wider diameter of a Dutch oven allows the potatoes to be distributed in a thinner layer, which results in more even cooking. If you like sweet potatoes, you’ll LOVE this amped-up version of the colorful spuds.
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 lbs. orange-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup black or green pitted olives, or a mixture, chopped (optional)
In a Dutch oven over medium-high, cook the oil and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes, orange juice, cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 8 to 11 minutes.
Uncover and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has almost fully reduced and the potatoes are glazed, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in the olives, if using. Taste and season with salt and pepper.