Sweet and Red Potato Mash

Sweet and Red Potato Mash

~ Sweet Potatoes, Red Bliss Potatoes and Celery Root Mash ~

It’s the time of year for soft and fluffy things. This applies to our food as well as our clothes.  As we wrap ourselves in wool and light the fire, we contemplate sating meals to comfort and fill our bellies. This simple side will do just that. Sweet and red potatoes are smashed together with celery root in a rustic rendition of fluffy mashed potatoes. Faintly sweet with potato and redolent of roasted garlic, this savory side is mellow and rich, promising to warm us as much on the inside as our fleece is protecting us on the outside.

Sweet and Red Potato Mash

Whole milk Greek style yogurt adds body and creaminess without excess fat to the potatoes. If you prefer extra richness, substitute sour cream for the yogurt. Serves 4-6.

2 pounds red potatoes with skin, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 pound sweet potato, peeled, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, divided
Salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Sage leaves for garnish

Combine potatoes and celery root in a large pot. Peel and smash 3 garlic cloves. Add to the pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very soft. Drain. Return to pot and cool slightly. Mince the remaining garlic and add to the potatoes. Add butter and yogurt. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, garnished with chopped sage leaves.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Root Vegetable Gratin

If you are searching for holiday side dishes, this root veggie gratin is a fresh alternative to a traditional potato gratin. Layers of rutabaga and sweet potato alternate with red potatoes in this colorfully striated dish flecked with sage.  The root vegetables lend an extra dimension to this rustic winter gratin with their sweet earthy flavor, while adding a more nutritious alternative to the simple potato.

Root Vegetable Gratin
Serves 6-8

16 ounces sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 medium red potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 large rutabaga, peeled
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, finely grated

Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Butter a gratin dish.
Combine sour cream, garlic, sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well. Thinly slice potatoes and rutabaga, preferably with a mandoline. Arrange 2 layers of red potatoes, overlapping, in bottom of gratin dish. Spread a thin layer of the sour cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle with a little Gruyere cheese. Cover with a double layer of sweet potatoes. Spread with a thin layer of sour cream and a sprinkling of Gruyere. Repeat with a layer of rutabaga. Repeat process until all of the vegetables have been incorporated. (There should be about 6 layers in all.) Thoroughly top gratin with remaining sour cream. Sprinkle a liberal amount of Gruyère over sour cream. Bake in oven until vegetables are tender and top of gratin is brown and bubbling, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Loosely cover gratin with buttered foil if browning too fast.) Serve garnished with fresh sage leaves.

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Here is the good news:  Sweet Potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat.  They are packed with dietary fiber, Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein and complex carbohydrates. Not only that, they are low in calories and taste great.  There are many ways to eat a sweet potato. They can be mashed, baked, puréed and roasted.  They are delicious in soups and stews, curries and ragouts.  And, of course, their natural sweetness makes them a perfect addition to desserts – puréed in pie fillings and baked in breads and cakes.

These fries are one of my favorite preparations. The fries are sweet and salty with a fiery kick from the added spices and served with a cooling chili-cilantro sour cream dipping sauce.   They are quick to prepare and healthy to eat, since they are not deep-fried, but roasted in a hot oven.  I’m not sure if they should be called a side dish, snack or meal, but they are guaranteed to be gobbled up faster than you can say “Sweet Potato Fries.”

*This recipe was chosen as the winner in a competition hosted by Food52 and will be published in their upcoming cookbook.  You can find this recipe and many other delicious recipes on their site, and have a chance to cast your votes for favorite recipes.

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

I like to keep the skin on my sweet potatoes adding texture and extra nutrients to this healthy side dish.  Serves 4 -6 as a side dish or snack.

2 large sweet potatoes, cut in large matchsticks/batons approximately 1/4 inch by 2 inch
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
Toss sweet potatoes and olive oil in a large bowl.  Combine salt, cumin, chile powder, paprika, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl.  Add spices to potatoes and toss to coat.  Arrange potatoes in one layer on baking sheet.  Bake in oven on lowest rack 10 minutes. Turn potatoes with a spatula and bake 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and serve with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream.

Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream:

1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon chopped cilantro

Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro in a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in cilantro.

Baked Root Vegetable Purée

Root Vegetable Puree tf

There is no set rule for the types of root vegetables you can use in this recipe.  In fact, what you see on the ingredients list is what happened to be in my kitchen when I set out to make a this dish to serve with roast chicken  last night.  As I puréed the steamed vegetables, I envisioned doctoring it with all sorts of extra spices, a little grated cheese, maybe even some minced onion.  But then I tasted the purée, and was blown away by its soft, sweet, nutty flavor.  Mild and delicate, all it needed was salt and pepper and a dollop of sour cream to lighten its texture.  For a little autumnal flourish, I topped the purée with fresh sage leaves before baking, so their woody flavor would lightly infuse the vegetables.

Baked Root Vegetable Purée
Baking the purée creates a crusty texture on its top.  If you would like a soft purée, omit the baking step.  The sage leaves will lightly infuse the purée with their flavor during baking.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

3 medium parsnips
2 large turnips
1 large sweet potato
1 large rutabaga (swede)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60  ml.) creme fraiche or sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sage leaves for garnish

Peel and cut vegetables in 2 inch chunks.  Steam in a large pot until very tender, 20-30 minutes.  Transfer in two batches to a food processor.  Purée each batch with 2 tablespoons butter. Combine puréed vegetables, sour cream, salt and pepper in large bowl and mix well.  Pour into baking dish.  (Purée can be made to this point up to one day in advance.  Allow to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
Arrange sage leaves on top of purée, pressing gently.  Bake in pre-heated 350 F. oven 25 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.