The baked sweet potato chips hold a strange place in the pantheon on food, without which not even popular nutrition icons such as Martha Stewart or Paula Deen could go. It’s the slacker food par excellence, not taking long to cook, yet it’s a delicious and a really healthy meal, being a savory source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
If food were people, the sweet baked potatoes would be the unassuming and lazy flatmate that seems to never get off the couch, yet somehow does keep fit and is quite the sweet-talker too when you get to know him. The Christmas meal is notoriously high in calories and heavy food, so the baked sweet potatoes can work as a more light-weight, yet still delicious side-dish, among the piles of other stuff, especially since you cook them so many different ways.
We managed to avoid the store bought, microwaved meal options this season, and went for a few simple dishes to make from scratch at home in no time! So here are what we found to be 4 delicious baked sweet potato recipes showing you how to prepare a perfect homemade meal this Christmas.
1. The Plain Baked Sweet Potato
This is the basic version of the baked sweet potato: easy, cheap, delicious and popular. It also the basis of pretty much every other derivative recipe, so it’s important to get it right. Luckily, that’s incredibly easy. All you need is a bunch of whole sweet potatoes, some salt and some butter. Wash the sweet potatoes well and dry them off. Then, using a fork, stab a few holes in them, so they can bake properly. Pre-heat the oven at a 350 degrees temperature and place the potatoes directly on the grilled rack of the oven. While you can also do this using a microwave oven, it’s really not the same thing. After 45 minutes or so, pinch them with a fork and if they seem soft take them out and let them cool before cutting a slit on top of them. Dress them with butter and a sprinkle of salt and eat while warm.
2. Loaded Baked Sweet Potato
This version has so many different options that they’re impossible to count and are only limited by your imagination and taste: to go with crispy fried chicken, crunchy bacon, or a spicy sauce, you name it. Go through the same actions as in the basic version but, while the sweet potatoes are in the over start mixing a topping. This can consist of everything that you think would taste good on top of a baked sweet potato, from jam to sliced pickles and everything in between, but, if you can’t be bothered to think of anything right now, you can try this first. Make a spread by mixing sour cream, chilli powder, paprika and salt in a bowl and, in different bowls, place toppings such as diced tomatoes and peppers, spring onions, salsa, grated cheese and black beans. After taking out the potatoes form the oven, instead of butter, apply the spread and let the bowls on the table, so everyone can apply their favourite mixture.
3. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Same idea, different way to cook. Wash the sweet potatoes and peel them. Slice them into the regular fries shape and sizes. Place the slices of sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add 1/3 cup olive oil, a teaspoon of rosemary, a pinch of salt and some ground pepper, and let them fry. Toss them around so the fries will be coated in the mix of oil and spices. Place in a baking sheet and place into the pre-heated oven where they should stay for around 15 – 20 minutes before being removed, stirred so they flip on the other side, and returned for another 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Honey
For an extra-Christmasy recipe based on the baked sweet potato, try the above fries recipe, but with a few differences. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes, instead of fries. Place them on a roasting tray and drizzle each one with a mix of ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup honey, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, salt and pepper. Place in the pre-heated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until tender. Before serving, it's best to drizzle with a bit more olive oil.