(Ahh, lighting.)Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness, I reckoned; why not add some smokiness, or spice, or both? Their texture too easily becomes gluey, so instead of intensifying that by mashing them, why not roast them, leaving them a little chunkier and perhaps even crispy? The result isn't so much a sweet potato french fry-- I think in order to get that kind of crispness you'd have to fry them twice-- but it's close, minus the guilt ... and we cannot get enough. They've made a sweet potato lover out of this skeptic.
Smoked & Spicy Sweet PotatoesWhat I offer you is basically the rub I've been using, and I can assure you it is just as good on plain old roast potatoes. I bet if you added some garlic and maybe even some Parmesan cheese, it would be excellent on shrimp, too. This is quite spicy, so if you're not keen on the heat, simply use the lesser amount of ancho chile and cayenne powder. The recipe below serves four; we have been halving it so each of the two of us eats about one sweet potato along with our dinner.
- 3 - 4 pounds sweet potatoes (roughly four potatoes), scrubbed and cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch-wide matchsticks
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- Olive oil for the pan (roughly 2 - 3 Tablespoons)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine all the spices in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
- Put potatoes in a large casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil, and use your hands to make sure the potatoes are evenly coated with oil.
- Pour half the spice mix onto the sweet potatoes and toss, evenly distributing the spices as best you can. Depending on your tastes, add as much spice to coat as you like, and save the rest for another day.
- Bake sweet potatoes for 40 - 45 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure they all roast evenly. Allow to cool for ten minutes, after which the intensity of the spiciness seems to diminish a bit, before digging in.