It's hard to find a vegetable as well-rounded as the sweet potato. It's delicious, it's good for you, and its exquisite coral flesh could inspire one to poetry...in the kitchen, that is.
Even Desi, who loves bananas and won't concede that the sweet potato is a richer source of potassium (it is), loves to eat this superfood whenever I cook it up for him, in dishes like this African sweet potato stew.
But a recipe I came across recently, thanks to a colleague Michael who is also an avowed sweet potato fan, sent me running to the supermarket for some sweet potatoes. Michael swore that the recipe from the wonderful Martha Shulman, that had appeared in the New York Times, was one of the best he'd had. If you have never before browsed Shulman's recipes for a rainbow of vegetables in the Times' Nutrition section, you're in for a treat.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is really simple, but it packs so much flavor that it's hard to believe just a handful of ingredients can produce a taste so complex and rich. I served up this spicy sauced sweet potato dish with a pilaf I made by tossing together some quinoa with green peppers and caramelized onions. I'll share that recipe with you in a day or two.
I didn't modify the recipe at all, except to use less oil. I also used only cayenne, not paprika and cayenne, as Shulman does. It was delicious.
Spicy Braised Vegan Sweet Potatoes
- Heat the oil and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Saute until they turn translucent, about five minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about a minute or two until the tomato paste darkens.
- Add the sweet potato cubes and toss well to coat with the spices. Add the white wine, enough water to cover the potatoes about halfway (I needed just over a cup), and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer, slap on a lid, and cook for about 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are really tender.
- Add more salt if needed. Serve hot