There’s something about cooking them for a bit longer than you otherwise would, in their own skins, whilst ensuring they don’t split that almost turns their insides into an ultra-sweet mash. Do try it.
Basically, it’s a classic baked potato except with an -I don’t know- vaguely cajun influence? Let’s just say authenticity isn’t its strong point.
It makes up for that in deliciousness and ease. In fact, this was a storecupboard throw-together because I was too lazy to make the sweet potato gratin I had scheduled for the evening.
- Whole sweet potatoes. At least one per person depending on their size (and yours.)
- 1 can plum tomatoes. Add a teaspoon of sugar if you are using chopped tomatoes.
- 1 very large brown onion or 1.5 normal-sized ones. Diced.
- 2 cloves garlic. Finely copped.
- 1 can kidney beans. Rinsed and drained.
- 2 tablespoons Hot Cajun seasoning Or use normal cajun seasoning and add more cayenne.
- 1-2 tablespoon cocoa powder. Always the secret ingredient in chilli enrichment.
- Natural yoghurt to serve. You can use sour cream if you like but I think the yoghurt contrasts better with the sweetness of the potato.
1. Preheat the oven while you gather everything together. Whatever temperature you usually cook jacket potatoes at. Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly with a vegetable brush, trim the ends, then prick all over with a fork.
After this, pour-then-smear them with olive oil and cover them in salt, like so:
Once done, drop them in the oven for an hour. I use the pizza trays with holes in them you can see here. If you sit them on a rack put a tray on the next rack down to catch the runoff.
2. Twenty minutes later (have a wine), you can get started on the filling. Slowly fry the onion in olive oil in a saucepan for at least ten minutes, the longer the better. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
3. Tip in the tomatoes, crushing them slightly as you do so. Half fill the tomato can with water, swirl it around and tip this into the saucepan. Follow this up with the seasoning and cocoa.
Little tip: Go easy on the cocoa… adjust the flavour by adjusting the cajun seasoning. There is a fine, fine line between smoky cocoa notes and pouring your dessert onto your main course.
4. Simmer very gently, stirring and tasting regularly for at least twenty minutes. Tip the kidney beans in for the last seven minutes to heat through.
5. Once the sweet potatoes have been in for an hour, take them out and press them gently. If they’re super squishy they’re good to go. Cut open lengthwise, top with the chilli and finish with some natural yoghurt.
I know what you’re thinking… what? No cheese?
Well, from previous experience I’m not convinced it works with the velvety sweetness of the sweet potato flesh and the cocoa as well as the natural yoghurt. But by all means replace the yoghurt with cheese… this recipe couldn’t be more of a mutant. Serve it with live octopus and Mountain Dew for all I care. (Please, no Mountain Dew.)
Otherwise… it’s super cold out. Enjoy.