Food & Drink

Cookbook made for lovers of sweet potatoes

By Joan Leotta

For The Sun News

Friends of mine grew sweet potatoes this year. They told me that after digging up these vitamin-packed treats, a sweet potato’s need to “cure.” I never knew that sweet potatoes had to be “cured”. Actually, there is a lot I don’t know about this tasty traditional holiday side dish star.

Although I know sweet potatoes are a super food, full of vitamins, easy to cook and available year round in our markets, I honestly rarely think about them except during the winter holidays. The only exception to the rule is the growing availability of sweet potato fries in restaurants everywhere.

Jackie Garvin, food blogger and cookbook author, has made it her mission, with this book, to cure my and anyone else’s lack of knowledge about this tasty tuber. The recipes she provides are organized by season—not my favorite way to look at recipes, but for her purpose, to get us to use more sweet potatoes, more often than at the holidays, her choice of organization styles is understandable.

The first part of the book is devoted to expanding our knowledge. The second is the collection of recipes. Garvin has mastered this vegetable and masher in hand, she wants to convert us all into year-round sweet potato eaters. The potato itself has no cholesterol. (Loading it with butter changes that!) Each potato is loaded with vitamin A, lots of potassium and fiber. Oh yes, on nutrition points alone we should incorporate them into meals all year. The sweet potato is almost as versatile as its paler cousin potato. It plays well with herbs and ingredients used at various times of the year, not simply those used in the winter holidays.

Garvin’s strength as a recipe developer is that she goes well beyond simple roasting, mashing or even making fries. For instance, Garvin offers a flatbread sweet potato with rosemary for spring eating. For the summer, when the BBQ grills are roaring she entices us with some of the most imaginative of her recipes, BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Summer Berries with a Sweet Potato “Pone.” “Pone” is most often a cornmeal, water and salt concoction not unlike polenta. Her version uses a cooked sweet potato, spices and another Southern kitchen staple—buttermilk. This concoction is spooned on top of fresh roasted berries and then baked and served with whipped cream. Sounds heavenly! There are even recipes for sweet potato ice cream and for microwave-made sweet potato chips. I’ve included one of the hearty winter recipes—a Lentil, Sweet Potato and Chipotle Pepper Chili.

There is a lot packed into this book. If you like sweet potatoes you will enjoy perusing and using it.

At A Glance

Title | Sweet Potato Love; 60 Recipes for Every Season

Author | Jackie Garvin

Publisher | Sky Horse Press

Cost | $24.99

Lentil, Sweet Potato and Chipotle Pepper Chili

Excerpted with permission from Sweet Potato Love: 60 Recipes for Every Season by Jackie Garvin. Copyright 2016, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 medium sweet onions, pleaded and diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, diced

Cooking oil

4-5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced

6 ounces tomato paste

16 ounces green lentils, rinsed

28 ounces canned tomatoes, diced

1 Quart good quality chicken broth (vegetable for vegetarian option)

1-2 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a Dutch over, cook onions, carrots, and celery in a small amount of oil over medium heat for fifteen minutes. Add garlic, and cook fifteen more minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir occasionally. Don't let the vegetables get too brown. Add more cooking oil if needed. Stir in tomato paste. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender. Add more liquid if needed. Taste and then adjust seasoning. Serve warm

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