Haitian style baked sweet potatoes
Today’s recipe features our local sweet potatoes, which I have oven-roasted, mashed and reduced to a puree topped with prepared cod.
– Annick, you don’t eat sweet potatoes?
– I am not a fan. It’s a bulb one can easily choke on.
– Choke on sweet potatoes!?! what are you talking about?
– She’s right; you can choke if you’re not careful how you eat them
– Whatever you guys say…
This conversation is commonplace between my dad, my mother and I. It happens every single time sweet potatoes are featured on the menu.
To this day, my father still can’t seem to understand why I often frown upon sweet potatoes, a bulb he has a seasonal fondness for. Seasonal because once or twice a year he seems to develop an obsession for them. For two weeks at a time, he will only buy those bulbs, and request that they be included on every menu regardless of our opinion.
It’s not that I actually dislike sweet potatoes. I’m simply not as big a fan as my dad is.
Truth be told, as the above conversation states, I find our sweet potatoes difficult to eat. They’re one of those rare bulbs that feel very dry, and require lots of water to go down.
Their dryness probably comes from the fact they are very starchy, perhaps even starchier than other varieties.
Our local sweet potatoes are different from the most commonly sold and presented orange-fleshed ones. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to pinpoint the exact variety they belong to. They do, however, in my opinion based on an online search, seem to be akin to some of the Japanese varieties.
Haitian sweet potatoes, if I may call them that, have an outer skin that is more on the pinkish side of the color spectrum, though it can sometimes be beige as well. They boast a cream whitish colored flesh, which turns grey once the bulb is cooked.
Their starchiness only seems to disappear when they are grated and baked into our famous pain patate, also known as Haitian pain patate (sweet potato pudding), my favorite way of eating this bulb.
You must be wondering why I am serving you baked sweet potatoes today.
The answer is simple. I was curious to find out whether they would acquire a different texture or not when pureed. Turns out they do.
Our oven-roasted sweet potatoes seem to lose their starchiness, thus their dryness. With the added cream and cheese, they acquire a silky-smooth texture that resembles that of a mash potato. Since they’re baked in their skin, they also have a pleasant smoky flavor.
In my opinion, these mashed Haitian sweet potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to my prepared cod.
At first glance, this particular recipe may not look like your typical Haitian dish. Yet, it is merely a personal take on a typical meal I revisited: cod fish and “vivre.”
I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Haitian style baked sweet potatoes pureed and stuffed with prepared cod
This recipe features local Haitian sweet potatoes, which are oven-roasted, mashed and reduced to a puree topped with my prepared cod.
To bake the sweet potatoes
- 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
For the puree
- 1/2 cup grated Tête de Maure or sharp cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder or to taste
- 20 cl cream
For the creamy topping
- 1/4 cup cream
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves
For the garnish
- Green onions
- Brightened shallots
For the baked sweet potatoes
Wash the sweet potatoes
Pat them dry
Poke them with a fork and coat them with the olive oil and salt
Wrap in foil
Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment
Bake for about 1h30 minutes or until fully cooked
For the creamy sauce
While the sweet potatoes are cooking season the cream with salt, pepper and garlic
Keep that cream cool in the fridge
Putting it all together
Once the sweet potatoes have cooled down, cut a thin opening in the skin, and take out the flesh without ripping the skin out. Preserve the outer skin. You'll stuff it with the sweet potato mash
Mash the flesh into a puree
Season with salt, pepper, garlic and cheese
Add the cream
Mix until the puree acquires a smooth texture
Fill the preserved skin with the mashed sweet potato
Finish with my prepared cod or with the topping of your choice
Garnish with green onions and brightened shallots
Drizzle that mixture on top of your mashed sweet potatoes
Though I indicate proportions, you can definitely adjust the seasoning according to your taste. These proportions work because I added the prepared cod, which is already salty and rich in flavors. That recipe is on the blog.
Please note that the pleasant smoky flavors will disappear as your mashed sweet potatoes get cooler. If you like the smokiness as much as I do, I thus recommend that you serve your sweet potatoes while they're still warm.