By Stacy Harris
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods, and have always been a staple in my home. How can you not love a vegetable that can taste so different depending on how you prepare it? It is amazing, for example, how well sweet potatoes pair with the everything from the heartiest of meats (like beef) to the most delicate of birds (like quail).
The one recipe I always go back to, though, is for my Southern Baked Sweet Potato Fries. I just love making a balsamic-based sauce and serving it over a juicy steak resting on a bed of those crunchy but tender fries. You might also find my family and I eating them alongside a “meat and three” type meal, as a main dish on football nights, or sometimes even as a dessert.
I have found that if you boil the fries before you bake them, they will have a much crunchier texture on the outside while remaining tender on the inside—they are quite addictive! They’re also quite easy to make, as you can see below.
I’ve also included two bonus recipes: one for a sweet, delicious Cinnamon Sugar version of the fries, and another for a versatile Chipotle Dipping Sauce that complements both the savory and sweet versions (and, for that matter, is wonderful atop almost any vegetable or even hamburgers).
Trust me, you won’t be able to resist. (And if you like what you taste, also try my Southern Smashed Sweet Potatoes, plus get more recipes like these in my latest book, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living.) Happy cooking!
Southern Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 pounds potatoes, cut into ½ inch strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Place potatoes in pot and boil for about 6-8 minutes or until al dente.
3. Drain potatoes, then dry with paper towels.
4. Mix remaining ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Place potatoes in the mixture and coat evenly.
5. Spread sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. (Use two sheets if the potatoes are touching—if they do, they will steam instead of roast.)
6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy, turning them occasionally.
7. Remove and serve with Chipotle Dipping Sauce.
Cinnamon Sugar Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Follow the recipe above, replacing the dry ingredients with ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise.
1 ripe (red) jalapeno
½ lemon, juiced
Pinch of salt
1. Heat a cast iron skillet to smoking hot. Place the jalapeno on the skillet and cover with lid or pan to create roasting effect. Rotate pepper every minute or so until all sides are charred. Remove stem and skin from pepper.
2. Place pepper along with the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families, including her most recent release, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living. For more recipes like this check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.