The sweet potato or sweet potato It is a tuber that, despite the fact that today we can find it for many months on the market, it belongs to the coldest months of the year. There are still many of us who associate it with the appearance of chestnuts, when the aroma of both products cooked over hot coals begins to flood streets and homes.
As with the potato, there is a great variety of sweet potatoes with small differences in terms of flavor, size or texture, although the most striking thing is the different color of the interior meat. Orange sweet potatoes are the most popular, but we can also find yellowish, almost white, and even purple varieties.
Native, like the potato, of America, it is a climbing plant that grows best in tropical climates because does not get along very well with the cold to grow, but it has adapted well to many territories around the world. In Europe it is usually – or used to be – planted in spring so that the plant develops during the warmer months, starting its harvest in early autumn.
As we said at the beginning, the terms ‘sweet potato’ or ‘sweet potato’ are really synonymous and can refer interchangeably to any variety of this vegetable. It is also known as camote, moniato, potato or sweet potato, which is also the name it adopts in English (sweet potato) or German (Süßkartoffel). In the United States there is some confusion when the term is misused yam, when it refers to yam, another completely different tuber.
Nutritional properties of sweet potato
We can also compare its properties with that of the potato, since both are a great source of carbohydrates, although the sweet potato provides fewer calories for each edible portion once roasted or cooked. Being somewhat sweeter, the sweet potato has a bit more natural sugar, but stands out above all for the resistant starch that provides satiety and reduces the glycemic index of meals, being an excellent source of energy.
It is also a source of fiber, antioxidant vitamins and essential minerals, highlighting its vitamin C content and, especially vitamin A (retinol), doubling to the potato, particularly in the orange varieties. It also provides a good amount of potassium, magnesium and calcium.
It is common to designate the sweet potato as healthy potato alternative, although both are healthy products in themselves: the important thing is how to cook them, what to accompany them and the size of the servings. Unless it is accompanied by a lot of fats or other heavy ingredients, it is a food that is generally well tolerated and is very digestive.
Prepared in a healthy way, introducing this tuber into our diet is a good way to give variety to the diet, taking advantage of its antioxidant vitamins and obtaining greater satiety; That is why sweet potatoes are a good ally in weight loss diets.
How to cook sweet potato
A peculiarity of the sweet potato is that it is halfway between potato and pumpkin. The orange and reddish varieties, sweeter if they are cooked at a low temperature and for a long time, become a perfect substitute for the other great autumn vegetable also in recipes for desserts and pastries or bread.
Sweet potatoes can be prepared in infinity of different ways, almost like potatoes: steamed, boiled in water, roasted in the oven or in the microwave, over hot coals, grilled, at a low temperature, stewed or sautéed. It can also be cooked whole, brushing or washing the skin very well, or peeling it raw.
If we leave the meat firmer, we can cut it into discs or cubes to braise on the grill or sauté. Cut into sticks it becomes a good alternative to fries, which can also be baked, and in thin discs it lends itself well to dehydrate or transform into crispy chips.
With the pulp very cooked or roasted we can prepare vegetable creams or turn it into a garnish puree, delicious if we enrich it with some cream, cheese or butter and some fresh herbs. Well crushed it can be used as equivalent of pumpkin puree in recipes for muffins, cakes, biscuits, cookies and other sweets.
Here are five different recipes to demonstrate the versatility of sweet potatoes in the kitchen, with five different cooking techniques that will brighten up our meals from breakfast to dinner.
1. Louisiana sweet potato pancakes or sweet potato pancakes
- Ingredients for 12 units. 350 g of sweet potato, 60 g of softened butter (and a little more for greasing), 250 g of milk, 2 eggs, 200 g of pastry flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 pinch of Salt.
- Elaboration. Peel and chop the sweet potato; boil in water and drain. In a food processor, beat the milk, butter, eggs, flour, yeast, nutmeg, and salt. Add the sweet potato and beat again until you get a cream. We let it rest for half an hour. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and lightly grease it with butter. We pour a small ladle of dough and leave it to make 2-3 minutes, until the bubbles begin to open. We turn it over and let it do 2 more minutes. We are putting the pancakes on a plate and cover them with a clean cloth to keep them warm. We repeat the operation until we finish with the dough.
More details in the full recipe
2. Roasted sweet potato stuffed with quinoa and cheese
- Ingredients for 2 people. 2 small sweet potatoes, 100 g of cooked quinoa, 40 g of goat cheese, granulated garlic, sweet paprika, hot paprika, ground cumin, ground black pepper, 15 ml of extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Gruyère , emmental or manchego, fresh basil and lemon zest.
- Elaboration. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Cut the washed sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Steam for about 30-40 minutes or roast in a lightly greased pan cut side down. Cook the quinoa if it is not already ready, without overcooking it so that it does not fall apart. Mix with the cheese and spices. Remove much of the meat from the sweet potatoes while preserving the structure of the skin. Add to the quinoa, season and add the olive oil. Mix everything and fill the sweet potatoes. Add cheese to taste and gratin until golden brown. Serve with basil and a touch of lemon.
More details in the full recipe
3. Salmon ingot with sweet potato and wasabi mayonnaise
- Ingredients for 4 people. 4 salmon fillets (800 g), 1 beautiful sweet potato, 2 tablespoons of oyster or fish sauce, 1 egg, 1 glob of wasabi, 200 ml of sunflower oil, 1 pinch of salt, 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream (optional), trout roe for garnish, fresh dill.
- Elaboration. Coat the salmon with a tablespoon of oyster sauce and brown the outer sides in a very hot pan without cooking the inside. Reserve. Make a homemade mayonnaise with the egg, sunflower oil and salt with the mixer. Add the wasabi and continue stirring until smooth. Prepare a sweet potato puree by cooking it for 30 minutes. Blend with a fork until you get a cream. Optionally you can add a little cream. To assemble the dish, we draw a line of wasabi mayonnaise, put a quenelle of sweet potato puree and place the salmon fillet on top, decorating with the roe and dill.
More details in the full recipe
4. Sweet potato risotto with cured goat cheese
- Ingredients for 4 people. 350 g of arborio or carnaroli rice, 1 chopped sweet onion, 120 g of diced smoked bacon, 150 ml of white wine, 1.5 liters of vegetable or chicken broth (approx.), 1 medium sweet potato, goat cheese cured in wine (or similar), black pepper, salt and extra virgin olive oil.
- Elaboration. Wash, peel, chop and cook the sweet potato until it is very soft. Drain and reserve. Heat the broth. Heat a little olive oil in a deep frying pan or casserole and sauté the onion with a little salt. Add the bacon and cook well until golden brown, without getting too brown. Add the rice and stir. Sprinkle with the white wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Begin to add the hot broth little by little, stirring the rice gently, as required. Continue until you finish the broth or consume the necessary time indicated on the rice package. Add the roasted and crushed sweet potato and mix very well to incorporate it. Add a little extra broth if it is too dry. Season with salt and serve with cheese to taste and black pepper.
More details in the full recipe
5. Puff pastry and sweet potato bites with orange blossom water
- Ingredients for 14 units. 500 g of sweet potato, 15 ml of orange blossom water, 15 ml of rum, 80 g of sugar, grated 1/2 lemon, 1 rectangular puff pastry sheet, 1 egg.
- Elaboration. We wash, peel and chop the sweet potato. Put in a saucepan with boiling water and cook until tender, about 35-40 minutes. Drain and crush it with the sugar, the zest of 1/2 lemon, the rum and the orange blossom water. We preheat the oven to 210º C. We spread the puff pastry and go over it with a rolling pin. Cut into two strips of equal size and cover one of them with the sweet potato. We place the other on top, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. We puncture the entire surface so that it does not swell. We mark 14 portions with a cutter and transfer the puff pastry to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, placing the tray in the central part of the oven and using only the heat from the ground. After this time, we also heat the upper part and cook for another five minutes or until it is completely golden. We let it temper before cutting the portions.
More details in the full recipe.
Photos | iStock – Unsplash
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