Monday, September 24, 2012

An 'American Grown' White House Recipe For Fall: Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Apples & Chiles

Assistant Chef Sam Kass makes a delicious, easy dish with one of the First Family's favorite vegetables...
Recipes from the White House chefs are featured in First Lady Michelle Obama's book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, published in May of this year. The 1,500 square foot Kitchen Garden is a succession garden, producing vegetables year round, and the meals created at the White House are based on what's available seasonally.  Mrs. Obama's book is also divided by seasons, with each section containing recipes. Assistant Chef Sam Kass's Fall recipe for Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Chiles is very easy to make.  (Above: Kass cooking in  the White House kitchen)

Sweet potatoes are a favorite vegetable for the First Family, Mrs. Obama has often said.  They are also very nutritious, loaded with vitamins A and C, and a terrific source of dietary fiber.

"No potatoes say Fall to me more than sweet potatoes," Kass wrote with the recipe.  "We've had great luck growing them in the Kitchen Garden, which is a good thing, because we're all sweet potato fans here at the White House." 

Kass uses fresh red chili from the special Thomas Jefferson section in the Kitchen Garden, where heirloom varieties grow, but he noted that any kind of fresh chili is fine for the recipe.

"If you're using chili flakes, add them at the end of the cooking process so they don't burn," Kass wrote.  "A chili's heat is in the seeds; removing them before cooking removes the fire but not the flavor."

Check the sidebar of the blog for all White House recipes, including the recipe for Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Kass's recipe for Sweet Potatoes and Greens.

White House Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Apples And Chiles
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 Granny Smith or other firm apple, such as Honeycrisp, peeled, cored and chopped small

Olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, optional

1 small fresh red chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried chile flakes 

11/2  Tsp. lemon juice

A pinch of ground cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Place sweet potatoes in bowl and toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Put sweet potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake until soft, about 25 minutes.

3.  Drizzle enough olive oil to lightly coat bottom of large nonstick frying pan. Place over medium heat. Once pan is warm, add sweet potatoes. Be careful not to have the pan too hot; potatoes can easily burn.

4.  Gently turn potatoes with a rubber spatula, until they begin to brown. Add apple, lemon juice, butter (if using), fresh chile and cinnamon. Cook until potatoes are golden brown, continuing to turn the potatoes. (If you're using dried chile flakes instead of fresh chile, add them here.)

Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.

*Photos by Quentin Bacon, courtesy of Crown Publishing. Reprinted from American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama. Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.