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~ Spicy, Crispy, Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato 'Fries' w/Allspice 'n Chipotle Chili Sauce... Sweet Heat!!! ~

IMG_1042You can cook sweet potatoes by all of the same methods you cook a potato:  bake, boil, fry, grill, roast, microwave and even deep-fry.  I am a lover of this extremely healthy superfood, and so is my 87-year-old mother-in-law Ann.  Ann moved to Happy Valley five years ago, and, for the most part, I cook all of her meals.  She has a venturesome appetite for all sorts of great food, and, I love to cook, so, from that standpoint, we get along great.  Enough said.  Like the rest of us, Ann occasionaly gets a craving for something specific.  When she does, she relays the message to me via her son and my husband: Joe. Yesterday was such a day, and, she mentioned to Joe, "I haven't had those sweet potato fries that Mel makes in a while".  She loves these spicy 'fries' and I was happy to make them for her today.   Super-easy, super-delicous, super-food!

6a0120a8551282970b017d3df1a12b970c-800wiA bit about sweet potatoes:  Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large, edible root (which belongs to the morning glory family) is native to the tropical regions of the Americas.  There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most commercially grown are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" (the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato).  The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh.  Its flavor is not sweet, and after being cooked, the pale sweet potato is dry and crumbly, similar to that of a Russet potato.  The darker variety has a thicker, dark orange skin and vivid orange, sweet flesh.  When cooked, it has a very sweet flavor and a creamy texture.  The dark-skinned, orange-colored variety is the only kind I use in my recipes.  The following photo illustrates the vibrant color and soft texture of the inside of this type of  baked, sweet potato:

6a0120a8551282970b013487fcc775970c-320wiAlways choose firm ones with no cracks or bruises.  Because I am usually planning on baking them, I like to choose even-sized ones so they will all cook at the same time. They should not be stored in the refrigerator, but they need to be stored in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.  If the temperature goes above 60 degrees, they'll begin to sprout, get woody and/or shrivel.  Cooked sweet potatoes, if stored in the refrigerator, last for about a week!

Mel's easy sweet potato fries w/allspice 'n chipotle chili sauce!

IMG_0965 IMG_0974Take a moment to make the chili sauce first.  In a 1-cup measuring container, mix together:

1/2  cup chili sauce

1/2  teaspoon allspice

1/2 teapoon chiplotle chile powder

Set aside until serving time.  Now it's time to move onto the fries, which take about 10 minutes to trim and cut, then, 30 minutes to roast!

IMG_09134  large, even-sized sweet potatoes, about 8-10 ounces each (Note:  The key to the success of this recipe is to not overcrowd the potatoes on the baking pan, meaning:  if you want to double this recipe, use two baking pans.)

2  tablespoons cornstarch

1/2  teaspoon each:  ground allspice and chipotle chile powder

2  tablespoons corn or peanut oil

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

IMG_0902~ Step 1.  I like the classic "fry shape":  about 1/2" thick, 3"-long, square-tipped and boxy-looking. Why? Pointy tips burn.  I don't like fries with burnt ends.  Using a sharp knife, trim the left and right ends from each potato, peel and slice ("fry-cut") as directed above.

IMG_0916 IMG_0920 IMG_0925 IMG_0927




~ Step 2.  Place the sweet potatoes in a food storage bag.  Add the cornstarch, allspice and chipotle chile pepper.  Toss to thoroughly and evenly coat the potatoes in the dry mixture.  Add the oil and toss again, until the potatoes look glistening and wet, with no dry, powdery spots.

IMG_0938 IMG_0933~ Step 3. Line a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with aluminum foil.  

Generously sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend.

IMG_0951 IMG_0942                                                 ~ Step 4. Add the sliced sweet potatoes to the pan.  Using your fingertips, take a moment or two to make sure they are all positioned in a single layer with none of them touching.  

Sprinkle another light grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend evenly over all.

IMG_0976Step 5.  Roast the sweet potatoes on center rack of preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  

Remove from oven.  Using a large spoon or spatula, a few at time, scoop 'em up and flip 'em over.  

Return to the oven and continue to roast, about 15 more minutes, or until...

IMG_0988... the sweet potato fries are golden brown and caramelized around the edges.

IMG_1082Remove from the oven and serve immediately with the Allspice 'n Chipotle Chili Sauce to the side (for dipping).

Note: Just like any other kind of fries (oven-roasted or deep-fried), it's important to serve these as soon as they come out of the oven! PS:  These fries go great with burgers & the chili sauce is so much better than plain old ketchup!

IMG_1057Spicy, Crispy, Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato 'Fries'w/Allspice 'n Chipotle Chili Sauce... Sweet Heat!!!:  Recipe yields 4 servings of potatoes and 1/2 cup sauce.

Special Equipment List:  vegetable peeler; cutting board; chef's knife; 2-gallon food-storage bag or a large mixing bowl; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; aluminum foil; large spoon or spatula

6a0120a8551282970b017d3cf61d77970c-800wiCook's Note:  Instead of my spicy sweet potato fries, ~ Do You Want (Perfect "French") Fries with That? ~.  You can find this very special recipe in Categories 4, 15, 20 or 21!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary & Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


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