Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

I recently received a copy of The New Southwest Cookbook by Meagan Micozzi, as part of the new feature in 37 Cooks. Check out the new tab on our blog, Cookbook Reviews, to read about all the books and recipes being reviewed.

Meagan is from the East Coast and moved to Arizona, where she was "smitten" with the flavors of the new Southwest. She describes the new Southwest as a fusion of flavors, "a blend of classic desert ingredients and new, fresh additives." One example was "Native American breads and stews bring a whole new meaning to tacos and tortas." In this cookbook, Meagan takes it one step further by combining favorite East Coast comfort foods with the flavors of the new Southwest.

Meagan makes no assumption that everyone who picks up the book knows about the new Southwest. She gives detailed descriptions about the spices, herbs, chiles, produce, dairy, baking ingredients and pantry staples that are needed. She even recommends essential equipment to make your journey into the new Southwest easier.

Meagan started a blog, Scarletta Bakes, as a diary of her culinary adventures in her Arizona kitchen. This cookbook evolved from that passion. You will find it unique, full of flavorful recipes to enjoy. The recipe I have chosen to share is the Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes. They were delicious and SPICY. Enjoy!

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
by Linda
Adapted from The New Southwest Cookbook: Classic Flavors with a Modern Twist by Meagan Micozzi, page 129

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile*
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
4 walnut halves and a handful of chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spread walnuts on baking sheet and toast in oven for about 5 minutes, until light golden brown.

Wash sweet potatoes and pierce the tops several times with a fork. Pat dry.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in oven for approximately one hour or until tender.

Once potatoes have cooled, make a small slit on the top of potato and carefully scoop the flesh out into a bowl.

Add the butter, brown sugar and spices to bowl. Gently stir to completely mix in with the potato.

Fold in the walnuts.

Carefully refill the four potato skins with the potato mixture.

Top each potato with a walnut half.

Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until tops are golden brown.

After you remove from oven, lightly brush the outside skins with olive oil.

Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Serve immediately.

Tip: The original recipe called for 1 Tablespoon of ground chipotle chile. I cut the amount back to 2 teaspoons. I would suggest adding 1 teaspoon. Once everything has been incorporated, taste. If you want it spicier, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons. My husband and I felt the 2 teaspoons made it very spicy!

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