Monday, February 7, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Barbecue Spices

I love sweet potatoes prepared pretty much any way you you can prepare them. Baked, mashed, steamed, boiled, fried-they're just plain delicious and in general I prefer them to regular potatoes these days. I've mashed them many different ways, made them into soup, hash, and a few kinds of fries, baked them with apples, made classic candied sweet potatoes, and even stir-fried them, but I'm still on the search for new and delicious recipes for this wonderful vegetable.

As always, America's Test Kitchen came through with a recipes that couldn't be simpler, yet has layers of flavors without being too assertive and covering up the flavor of the sweet potato. This recipe is a bit unusual in that you start with a cold oven, so resist the natural impulse to start up the oven before tackling your recipe prep. I found that my cooking time was less than in the original recipe, but I provided the original cook times because I suspect my oven runs a bit hot (and am yet again reminded that I need to buy an oven thermometer to figure out just how far off my oven truly is). I also divided my sweet potatoes between two half sheet trays, rotating the two trays for the first time after about 20 minutes and again once the sweet potatoes were flipped.

There's simple no excuse not to make this nearly effortless, healthy, and delectable dish. These sweet potatoes will pair happily with fish, chicken, beef, or pork and will grace your kitchen with a suite of savory aromas, enticing everyone to the dinner table for a nice family meal. Need another reason to love these sweet potatoes? The leftovers, warm or cold, are almost better than the original dish because the flavors have had a chance to marry with the sweet potatoes even further.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Barbecue Spices
from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
serves 4

3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed, ends trimmed, and sliced 3/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Combine the paprika, brown sugar, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Toss the potatoes with the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and spices in a large bowl. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, place the potatoes on the rack, and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the potatoes for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the foil and continue to roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden, 15 to 25 minutes. Flip the slices and continue to roast until golden on the second side, 18 to 22 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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