Food Friday: Braised Sweet Potatoes

Two things I must say first:

  1. I’ve been really into braising lately, especially braising in my slow cooker. The convenience can’t be beaten.

  2. I’ve been really into sweet potatoes also - by default, they’re just about the only thing that goes on sale during the winter besides kale and winter squash.

Recently I bought a bunch of Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes and I didn’t know what to do with them. I was tired of baked potatoes. I didn’t feel like having mashed potatoes. So in sitting with them and communing with my roots (ha-ha), I deduced that they’re a drier sweet potato with a milder sweet flavor. Where it lacks in moisture and flavor, I wanted to make up for in how I cooked them. Braising adds depth of flavor due to its long cooking time, which is why I chose to braise them. The liquid that you use in a braise is really important in what “background" or foundational flavor notes you want in a dish, so I chose Port and blood orange juice for their acidity and sweetness.

I also decided to pair them with chopped red onion because pairing purple-with-purple seemed harmonious. I think this recipe would be really good with parsnips and carrots too, for their contrast in flavor and also their firmer texture that can withstand the long cooking time of braising. Anyway, this recipe turned out to be really good. The only thing I’d add is to finish it off with a coconut cream because I felt that it lacked some weight and smoothness in texture. So here’s the recipe! I’ve added the coconut cream step.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Stokes purple sweet potatoes

  • 1 medium red onion

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tbsp dried thyme (or 1 bundle of fresh thyme)

  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (add more for vata, less for pitta)

  • 2 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper (add more for kapha)

  • ¼ cup Port

  • Water

  • ⅔ cup coconut cream (omit for kapha)

Instructions

  1. Chop sweet potatoes and red onion into roughly the same sized pieces about 1” x 1”. Crush garlic and add to slow cooker with sweet potatoes and red onion. Add remaining ingredients and just enough water to cover ⅔ of the sweet potatoes and onion.

  2. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4 hours.

  3. Add coconut cream, stir to mix. Let cook on high for another 30 minutes to reduce.