Posts tagged sweet potatoes

north african-style chicken

I have a peculiar issue with my food preferences.  I generally dislike fruit in with my savoy dishes.  Spinach and strawberry salads have become quite popular, as well as Caribbean salads with mandarin oranges, and I always wonder why you would want to spoil your fruit with salad dressing, and vice versa.  Then, I tried a Chinese chicken salad with avocado and mango.  I don’t consider myself a convert by any means, but I’ve learned there are some circumstances when fruit with savory foods can be quite delicious.

Part of the reason I have typically shied away from the better-known African and Middle Eastern dishes is because it is common to see dried fruits, particularly raisins (or sultanas), and apricots, in the dishes.  Still unconvinced about the merits of fruit in a savory, spiced dish, I added carrots and sweet potatoes for a milder sweet flavor.

North African-Style Chicken (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch saffron
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/2 c. Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. frozen (or 8 oz. fresh) spinach

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook until fragrant.  Add remaining vegetables and saute about 5 minutes, or until sweet potatoes have begun to soften.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the spices.  Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated by the spices.  Add to the saute pan and cook, stirring often, until it is browned on all sides.
  3. Add the chicken broth with the spinach and bring to a boil.  Add couscous and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until couscous is cooked and liquid has been absorbed.

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Sweet Potato… Something

Hm, I seem to be missing a photograph for this.  I had a bunch of little sweet potatoes and some other ingredients I thought might go together well, so I thought I’d experiment and the result was actually pretty interesting.  Sort of like a sweet potato souffle or custard.  I think I actually only ate it cold for breakfast, so I can’t comment on how the texture holds up warm, but I would probably bake in individual ramekins if I was going to do that.

Sweet Potato… Something (makes 1 8-inch square pan)

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 smallish sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, about 3-4 cups
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used low-fat)
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300.  Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. Place sweet potato cubes in a medium saucepan, and pour coconut milk over.  Bring up to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are cooked through, around 10 minutes.  Do not drain!
  3. Use a potato masher to mash sweet potatoes in the coconut milk until smooth.  Alternatively, remove sweet potatoes and pass through a ricer, then remove to coconut milk and stir in.
  4. Let cool ten to fifteen minutes, then add remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined.  Pour into prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake until lightly browned and puffing up on the edges, about 20-30 minutes (I think – I made this in April!)  Let cool before serving.

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Lemon-Ginger Chicken

Really, it’s almost a miracle that I got a great picture out of this.  I wasn’t really watching it while it was baking and, well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to wash the dish it came out of.  I think this recipe really has a lot of potential, but the taste was actually way too strong for me: very sour.  I’m just realizing I forgot to add the chicken broth – that might have helped….

The recipe specifies marinating chicken in lemon juice, fresh minced ginger, and fresh minced garlic.  Then, after a quick flour-ginger coating and a panfry, the chicken is put in a baking dish.  The marinade is poured over the top, sprinkled with brown sugar, and baked for almost 40 minutes – which, by the way, is an awfully long time for chicken that’s already been par-cooked in the pan.

Next time I make this, I would probably ditch the marinade (food science debates whether it’s even safe to reuse, although I did boil it for a few minutes first) and make a separate glaze with similar ingredients, and bake it for about half the time.  It would probably be just great without the glaze, too, which would allow you to better taste the seasonings in the coating.

Lemon-Ginger Chicken (2 servings)

Recipe from “The New Basics Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a bowl, and cover with lemon juice, ginger, and garlic.  Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Pat chicken breasts dry, and dredge in the flour mixture until completely coated.  Shake to remove excess.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Fry chicken breasts in oil until brown, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
  6. Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan.  Pour broth and reserved marinade over the chicken.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over chicken.
  7. Bake until tender, 40-45 minutes, basting halfway through cooking.

Except for the part where I cut myself on our hand grater, this was the more successful portion of dinner – more successful, I said, not entirely successful.  Despite greasing the baking sheet with baking spray, these sweet potato pancakes stuck vigorously, and as a result, I think, didn’t really get the crispiness I was hoping for.  They were still really delicious.

Sweet Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes) (about 12 latkes)

Recipe based on one from Erin Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (I forgot to weigh mine, but Erin says this recipe should be made with 2 pounds; I probably had closer to 1)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or use a nonstick baking sheet.
  2. Grate sweet potatoes and onion coarsely into a bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Portion out onto baking sheet and flatten slightly.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Flip; cook another 15 minutes.

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