High-Five Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sweet Jesus, fall is here at last!  Nothing says fall to me like sweet potatoes.  They take me right to the Thanksgiving dinner table, even in the middle of April.  My normal sweet potato routine is to bake them and add some butter and brown sugar.  Simple and delicious, no problems here! This potato was so remarkably complex.  Never have I had a sweet potato with chickpeas and pomegranate seeds, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I didn't hate it.  It was just a lot of ingredients to the point of overkill.  Sweet potatoes have such a strong flavor, and so does tahini, so all the other flavors seemed to get lost in the shuffle.  This potato was tasty, but I had trouble tasting the sun dried tomatoes or the lemon.  Was it necessary to even bother with those?  I don't know the answer.

Honestly, I have to say I prefer my simple butter and brown sugar sweet potato to this creation, however I am really glad I tried it.  It reminds me of how when I go to the cheesecake factory and always get the dutch apple caramel streusel cheesecake.  Every time.  It isn't like we go to the cheesecake factory all the time, so when we go, I am not going to waste a cheesecake opportunity on a risk.  But a time or two, it happened.  They were out of my #1 favorite cheesecake and I had to pick something else.  And you know what?  My favorite has never been ousted from the top spot.  Dutch apple caramel streusel will always be my number one.  But I still ate and very much enjoyed the other cheesecakes.  Sometimes it is for the best that we are forced to try new things. :)

I will give props to this potato, it was SUPER filling.  This would make a really good vegetarian lunch that will keep you satiated for a good while.  Might be worth a try?

You will need:
4 sweet potatoes (each about 3/4 - 1 pound)
2 TBSP olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup hot water
1 TSP lemon zest
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TSP honey
1/8 TSP ground cinnamon
1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (15.5-oz can)
2 TBSP sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced
3 TBSP minced fresh parsley leaves
2 TBSP toasted pine nuts
2 TBSP pomegranate seeds
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

I will share the recipe way and the fast way.  I used the fast way.  Recipe way:  preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and use a baking rack over the paper.  Scrub  your potatoes well, pierce all over with a fork.  Coat the surface of the potatoes with a thin layer of olive oil.  Place potatoes on the baking rack, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Natalie's fast way, because she works hard all day and doesn't want to spend hours in the kitchen making dinner: scrub your potatoes well.  Pierce several holes in the skin with a fork.  Lightly dampen a paper towel for each potato.  One at a time, wrap your potato in the damp paper towel.  It doesn't need to be extremely tight, but not loose either.  Microwave for 4 minutes.  Flip potato upside down and microwave another 3 minutes (or less depending on how cooked your potato feels midway through).  Boom, baked potato in minutes.  I microwave them one at a time because when I put more than one in they seem to heat unevenly and I have one that is very under done and one exploding from the heat.  I don't even oil them when I do this, so maybe it will save us a few calories.

For the topping, whisk together the 2 tbsp olive oil, tahini, hot water, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and cinnamon.  Once those are combined, toss with the chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds.  Taste for seasoning.

Now to assemble, slice your potatoes lengthwise halfway through and press the ends to 'open' the inside.  Drizzle with some olive oil and add salt and pepper.  Pile in the chickpea mixture and top with some extra pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and/or parsley.  Dig in!

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