Melted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Lemon
Why Melted Sweet Potatoes?Move over marshmallow sweet potatoes, melted sweet potatoes are the new "It Girl" in town. Melting is my latest discovery for preparing these healthy root vegetables. The technique uses a combination of roasting and braising to transform thick sweet potato disks into heavenly slices with caramelized edges and creamy centers. The best part is they are super easy and the only tools you will need are a sharp knife, a vegetable peeler, a sheet pan and a hot oven.
Simple ProcessMaking melted sweet potatoes couldn't be easier. Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1" thick rounds, discarding the pointy tips. Toss them in olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and herb of your choice. Place them on a preheated sheet pan, allowing for plenty of space between each round. Roast in a very hot oven for 15 minutes. Flip the rounds over and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter garlic slices over the top. Pour chicken or vegetable stock over the potatoes and shower them with a good coating of cinnamon. I don't measure the cinnamon; I just shake until the potatoes are well covered. Return to the oven for 15 minutes and voila! Plate the potatoes, spooning any extra sauce over them. Spritz with a squeeze of lemon and garnish with lemon zest and chopped parsley. You have a magnificent side dish that is worthy of eating as a main course.
Butter or no Butter?Most melted sweet potato recipes call for a lot of butter - as much as 1 cup for 2 pounds of potatoes. The butter is not needed. You can cook these potatoes with butter, or a mixture of olive oil and butter, but melted sweet potatoes made with only enough olive oil to coat them for roasting will yield fabulous results. Sometimes I add a pat or two of butter when I add the broth, but it is not critical for a delicious outcome. The technique of roasting then braising in broth is what makes these potatoes delicious. So feel free to keep them skinny and cook only with olive oil, or if you please, fatten them up with a couple pats of butter.
HealthySweet potatoes are a very healthy choice of potatoes. They are over-the-top loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. One cup of sweet potatoes provides a whopping 769% of the daily requirements for vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are reported to help combat inflammation, promote gut health, support eye health, protect against cancer and support the immune system and brain function. They are helpful in managing blood glucose levels, blood pressure and weight. In my book, they really are a super food. For more detailed information on the health benefits of sweet potatoes check out this article.
Cinnamon and Lemon Add Flavor and More Healthy IngredientsI add cinnamon and lemon to this recipe to boost and balance the flavor and add to the health benefits to this dish. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, protects against heart disease and helps regulate blood glucose levels. Lemon is high in vitamin C, promotes skin health and aids in digestion.
The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes And YamsMost of the yams sold in the U.S. are actually sweet potatoes, even when they are labeled yams. Many people think that sweet potatoes have brown skin and are golden inside and yams have red skin and are orange inside. Nope, both are sweet potatoes. The brown-skinned sweet potatoes are firmer and the red-skinned sweet potatoes are softer. Yams are native to Asia and Africa and unless you are shopping at an ethnic market, you probably are buying different kinds of sweet potatoes and not yams. For this recipe I prefer the orange, re-skinned sweet potato variety.
Shiny Pan or Ugly Pan?Save your shiny new sheet pans for baking cookies and drag out your ugliest, darkest, splotchiest sheet pan to roast the sweet potatoes and for that matter, any vegetables. Your old "seasoned" pan will give you the best caramelization. Never throw these treasured pans out and take care that you don't over scrub them when you clean them. They take years to create. They are so prized that you may even want to put them in your will to the best cook in your progeny.
Hope for Melted Sweet Potato LeftoversMake enough to ensure you have leftovers. I love these melted sweet potatoes eaten cold the next morning for breakfast. Or you can add them as a savory topping to oatmeal or Greek yogurt with a handful of chopped pecans. My goal is to always have left overs. In planning your quantities shoot for between one half pound and one pound per person. I will warn you, at half a pound per person you may not have any leftovers. And that would be very sad!
More Melted Potato and Sweet Potato Recipes
Melted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Lemon
Yield 2 - 4 servings
These caramelized-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside sweet potato disks may be the perfect way to prepare this delicious and healthy vegetable. A combination of roasting and braising is used to create the heavenly texture and flavor in these naturally sweet root vegetables.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
- Splash of olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 T chopped fresh herbs (thyme or rosemary are good choices)
- 2 cups chicken ore vegetable stock
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 - 2 T butter, divided into teaspoon portions (optional)
- 2 t cinnamon or more
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
- Heat your oven to 450 F if using a convection oven and 475 F if using a conventional oven. Place a 13" x 18" sheet pan in the oven to preheat.
- Slice the peeled sweet potatoes into 1" thick rounds, discarding the pointy ends. Place potatoes in a bowl and add a healthy splash of olive oil, enough to coat all sides of the potato disks by tossing with your hands. Season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs.
- Place the potatoes on the hot baking sheet and return to the oven to roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each potato disk over and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven, pour the stock over the potatoes, scatter the garlic slices over the potatoes and sprinkle the cinnamon uniformly over the pan. Return the potatoes to the oven, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and plate the sweet potato rounds on a serving platter in a single layer. Spoon any residual sauce from the pan over the potatoes. Finish with a spritz of lemon juice and garnish with lemon zest and chopped parsley.
Cuisine New American