Kitchen Experiment #2: “Beeten” Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


Something brilliant and comforting...

This week has been a little crazy for me. The final courses I am taking are, to put it lightly, a little intense. Days are long and filled with differential equation calculus as well as functional groups and wave functions. If I see another Greek letter I may hurl. :]

Needless to say, it was time for a little culinary therapy. Into the kitchen for some experimenting.

"Beeten" Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes!

I love sweet potatoes, and I had a lone potato staring back at me when I was taking stock of what I had to work with. That, and a drawer-full of beets that were given to me at the last farmers market. This is what I came up with, and I must say, it turned out pretty yummy.

My hands are stained pink for the day, though. :[

Kitchen Experiment #2: “Beeten” Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Note: this is for 2 servings (one-half potato each), feel free to scale them up. There’s a lot of wiggle-room in this recipe, so make it your own with herbs, spices, or even a “sweet” filling with a little brown sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium (6-7 in) sweet potato
  • 2 small (1-2 in diameter) beets
  • kosher salt (a pinch)
  • butter (to taste)
  • olive oil (small dash)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp light sour cream

Process:

So the whole concept of a twice-baked potato is that you cook them first, carefully slice in half and scoop out the innards, and essentially mix the potato mash with all kinds of deliciousness and pile them back onto the empty shells to almost reconstruct them, except with twice as much filling as each half.  Then, per the name, you bake them again quickly to marry the flavors in the filling and warm the whole lot up.

I wanted something brilliant in color and light in calories. Typically, russet potatoes that are made to be twice-baked have loads of cream and cheese as well as salt to overpower the sweetness from the cream and rendered sugars.

These potatoes are high in vitamins and taste, and I kept the cream very light, using only a bit of butter to keep them bound together.

Now, lets get cooking. First, turn your oven on to 425F. Slice your washed sweet potato lengthwise so you get two even halves. Sprinkle them with a little kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil and set them skin-side-down in your baking pan. Set your timer for 35 minutes and put them into the oven.

Next, get your beets and cut off the stems, wash, and peel with a vegetable peeler. Wash your hands often as beets are a natural dye and WILL color your hands and everything else, lol. Cut them into 1/2 inch chunks and set them aside. Prepare a steamer with a steaming basket in a heavy-bottomed pot that has a lid (think dutch oven) and fill with water until just under the steaming basket. Take a piece of foil and press it over the basket, allowing the “stem” of the basket to pierce through. We’re doing this because the beets are messy, but also quite delicate when soft, so this will protect them and your steamer. Set your chunks of beet on the foil and spread out evenly. Put the lid on and turn the heat on high. You’re going to steam them for about 20 minutes or until they are soft but not falling apart. Once finished, turn the heat off and let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Your potatoes should be “hissing” at you at about 20 minutes. This is good! Once the time is up, remove your potatoes and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and turn your oven down to 350F.

Get a medium, non-porous bowl (the beets will turn it magenta) and gently scoop out as much of the sweet potato as you can with a spoon. Be careful not to rip or pierce the sides, and be sure to leave a bit on the edges to hold the skin up better. Add a teaspoon of butter and about 2 teaspoons of light sour cream. Mash them, combining the butter and sour cream, but make sure you leave a little bit of texture. You don’t want a smooth mixture unless you plan to pipe it into the shells. (I originally wanted to do it, but my piping set doesn’t have a large enough star tip to do them justice).

The beets are another story. I used a personal-sized blender to mash them until they were a coarse texture (no chunks bigger than a pencil eraser tip). You could use a food processor for a few quick pulses and that should do the trick. Just make sure you immediately rinse it out afterward or it will stain the plastic.

Now, add the beet mixture to the sweet potato mixture and mix with a spoon until just combined. You want some variation in color so that they look almost like confetti. Carefully spoon the mixture back into the shells, and transfer back to your baking dish and into the oven for 15 minutes (at 350F). You could sprinkle them with nutmeg or any other spice you feel like. And by all means, don’t feel bad if you want to lick the bowl. I sure don’t. :}

Remove from the oven and let cool before serving with whatever you like. I put a small dollop of sour cream on top because it’s pretty and tasty. Enjoy!!

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