Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Twice Baked Mexican Sweet Potatoes

Cold weather calls for a dish with some serious umph but way too often, involves heavy ingredients that leave you in a food coma. My answer to that, is a Twice Baked, Mexican Sweet Potato. 

I started my cooking adventure with this recipe but quickly went my own way, with the below shortcut to potato baking.

There are two, easy ways to bake a potato: one, involves an oven and waiting around for an hour, the other, involves a fork and 10 minutes in a microwave (I went with the second option). First, wash the potato with a scrub brush (you need to get the dirt out of the crevices, especially if it's from the farmer's market, which will not pre-wash them), under running water. Next, use all of the day's pent-up frustration and stab the potato with a fork - leaving it evenly coated in enough holes to let the steam through so it doesn't explode while cooking. Next, wrap the potato in a paper towel, set on a plate in the microwave, and cook for 5 minutes. Using a potholder (both the plate and potato are hot by now), turn the paper towel wrapped potato over and cook for another 5 minutes. Once done, set aside and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spiced and roasting

While the potato is languishing in the microwave, you can get the roasted corn started. Place a cast iron skillet over high heat (cast iron will have the best effect but you can use a normal pan in a pinch). Let the pan heat up, then add two tablespoons of butter, melting to coat the pan evenly. The recipe I referenced above states that you should not use butter but I think that giving the corn a light coating before roasting helps bring out its flavor. Pour the corn into the pan, shake back and forth until it is coated by the butter, season with the desired spices (I used salt, pepper, and chili powder), and let sit for 2-3 minutes without stirring. The pan will start to smoke - this is a good thing - you want the corn to 'roast,' leaving the sides slightly browned and burnt looking. after 2-3 minutes, stir the corn so the other side roasts equally. Keep doing this until you get the desired color, then remove from heat and set aside.

Turning your attention back to the potato, cut in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the inside, leaving at least 1/2 inch of potato along the shell to help hold its shape. Put the potato shells on a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil and place the scooped out potato in a food processor (you can hand mix too), along with the sour cream, cream cheese, chipotle peppers, and the remaining spices. Combine until thoroughly mixed and stir in the roasted corn and black beans.

Two chipotle peppers, waiting for everything else to go into the food processor

Next, spoon the mixture back into the potato shells, cover with shredded cheese, and place in the oven.

Turn the oven to 'broil' and cook for five minutes. I am of the vain that doesn't quite trust broilers to not fry everything to a crisp as soon as your back is turned, so I left the oven door cracked open, grabbed a chair, and enjoyed a glass of wine while keeping an eye on the broiling cheese. No matter which way you do it, the potatoes will be done when the cheese is bubbling. Take out immediately, turn off the heat, and serve.


The inside of the potato will be hot so take care as your enjoy.



- 1 medium-large sweet potato (1 will serve two people)
- 1/2 can yellow corn
- 1/2 can black beans
- 2-4 INDIVIDUAL chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce(2 was spicy enough for me)
- 1 ounce sour cream
- 1/4 c cream cheese
- shredded cheese (any variety is fine. I used a four cheese blend.)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 c cilantro, freshly chopped
- chili powder (to taste)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- onion powder (to taste or caramelize and add 1/2 chopped onion)

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