How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Paleo Potatoes

We are still not quite sure what the Paleo diet is all about, but a friend recently recommended a recipe from a paleo web site (let that sink in) that looked delicious. And we are happy to report that it is!

Cooking Caveman, Professional Husband, and blogger George posted this simple and delicious preparation for sweet potatoes. He opens his article with some general advice about sweet potatoes, which is to bake them. I would take his suggestion a step further -- rather than baking them on a foil-lined tray, I coat them with oil and then wrap them in foil for baking. In either case, I like his suggestion to bake a bunch of them at a time so that they are always handy for various kinds of cooking.

I followed his recipe for Stuffed Sweet Potatoes pretty much as written; I'll describe a few caveats here.

First, I will point out that the URL for this recipe is in his "pork" directory because a little bit of bacon is involved. Although the bacon definitely contributed to the flavor of this dish, a vegan version would certainly be satisfying as well.

Second, I paid little attention to quantities. I used only two sweet potatoes, so I should have halved all of the other ingredients. Instead, I simply worked in units known as "whatever is most convenient." So I stayed with the 4 strips of bacon called for, but one entire bell pepper, a small onion, and an apple, rather than fractions of each. Pam remembered that we still had one bag of frozen mixed greens from the summer, so I used these instead of spinach, which would have been more tender.

Third, rather than the oven, I used our Big  Green Egg both to roast the sweet potatoes and to cook the bacon. Once I got the Egg to 400F, I put the wrapped sweet potatoes in it, along with a grilling stone we recently purchased at Vermont Country Store (in Vermont -- not available online). At about 30 minutes, I opened up the Egg long enough to put the bacon on the stone (four strips was about all that would fit). At that temperature, it took about 10 minutes for the bacon (thick sliced) to cook crisply. I then cooled it and cut it into small pieces.

The rest was easy -- I happily followed blogger George's instruction to use an indispensable cast-iron skillet to cook up the onion, pepper, apple, dried cranberry, bacon, and greens. I used unsweetened dried cranberries. During the meal I realized that this time of year in Massachusetts, I could have just used fresh cranberries.

I had left the sweet potatoes in a bit over an hour at this point, which was just fine -- the softer the better. I sliced them in half, fluffed the centers a bit, and spooned the stuffing (more of a topping) onto them.
Further evidence that food photography is best left to the professionals (as on Blogger George's site). But this was so lovely in real life that I had to capture it. 
This dish scores quite well on the nutritious-delicious-easy-cheap trade-off matrix. Good on all of these counts, and surprisingly flavorful for a dish with no sauces or spices. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that we paired it with a Malbec, nor that we heartily endorse this pairing!


Since I was careless with proportions, we had plenty of the topping leftover. I was kind of hoping for this result, even tough I did not have a clear idea what to do with it. We decided that it would work well as part of a lunchtime quesadilla during the week. Mmmm.


Geography note: As we understand it, the paleo diet is limited to things that people would have in the Paleolithic Era, which extended from the onset of human use of stone tools 2.6 million years ago through the end of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) 10,000 years ago. During this period, humans were found either in the "Old World" or the "New World" (eastern and western hemispheres) but with no communication between the two. Sufficient connections to create recipes with ingredients from both hemisphere did not come about until the Columbian Exchange that followed the incursion of Columbus onto various islands in and around the Caribbean in 1492. The ingredient list for this recipe is transatlantic, so its deliciousness would have to await Columbus -- and really the Internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment