In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: New ideas for sweet potatoes

by | Feb 25, 2016

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa featured fun new ways to use North Carolina sweet potatoes and an award-winning Super Bowl recipe for pork sliders that would be a hit for any get together.

The first recipe is for a side salad that can be made with North Carolina-grown sweet potatoes, beets, kale and pecans. The recipe will make four side salads. Lisa suggests adding crumbled goat cheese and to sweeten the dressing with a little sugar if it is too tart.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 beets, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes and beets with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and raisins. Spread sweet potato mixture in a single layer 12- by 16-inch rimmed baking sheet. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add pecans and thyme and stir until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Top potatoes with pecan mixture, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes or until potatoes and beets are tender.
Place kale in a medium size skillet and drizzle with olive oil, add crushed red pepper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat to wilt the kale slightly, then remove from heat.
Combine the sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper with a whisk to make a dressing.
In a large bowl, combine the roasted vegetables, wilted kale and dressing. Toss to coat and serve.

The next recipe is for a creative and delicious appetizer. Lisa suggests adding fried sage leaves to the top of this sweet and savory pizza.

Sweet Potato Pizza

  • 1 puff pastry
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
  • ¼ cup dried figs, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon dry ground sage
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions, press seams together and place on baking sheet. Prick entire dough with a fork. Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add pressed garlic and sage. Brush onto puff pastry dough and bake according to package directions.
In a small skillet, add olive oil and heat on medium high. Add mushrooms and prosciutto and cook until lightly browned.
In another pot, boil sweet potato until tender. Then cool slightly and slice ¼ inch half rounds. Sprinkle with cinnamon. In a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup butter, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until combined. Dip the cooked sweet potato in the maple syrup mixture.

Push down puff pastry to make pizza crust. Top baked puff pastry with prosciutto, mushrooms, figs and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and broil for 45 seconds.

The next recipe is a dessert that Brian calls a nice way to enjoy North Carolina sweet potatoes. Lisa suggests North Carolina-grown pecans and whipped cream for optional toppings.

Sweet Potato Brownies

  • 1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking squares, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Parchment paper
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 16 ounces), cooked and mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ orange zest
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave according to package directions or use a double boiler, set aside until cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, sugar, coffee and vanilla. Gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly; until incorporated.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides. Grease with butter and flour the parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk into the chocolate mixture and pour into prepared pan, reserving 2/3 cup.
Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, 3 eggs, heavy cream, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and ½ teaspoon salt; pour over brownie batter in pan. Add pecans to the reserved brownie mixture and pour over the sweet potato mixture. Swirl mixtures together in different directions with a knife.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbles. Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift brownies from pan using parchment paper. Gently remove parchment paper and cut into squares.

The next recipe is for chips that should be a little healthier and fewer calories than traditional chips or fries. Lisa suggest watching closely while baking them so they don’t burn. This same recipe can be done making sweet potato fries but you would need to bake them a little longer.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce

Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice into thin rounds to make chips. Melt the butter then add salt, chili powder and pepper. Pour butter mixture over the sweet potato chips and toss to coat. Spread the chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
While they rest, combine the dipping sauce. In a small bowl whisk together garlic, yogurt, buttermilk, hot sauce, salt and pepper to your taste. Serve with chips.

This next recipe will spice up your game day party or other get together. Since it’s a slow cooker dish you can even prepare it hours before game time. Domino Ireland of Raleigh won first place at the 2015 NC State Fair with this winning recipe in the N.C. Pork Council Tar Heel Pork Challenge. Lisa suggest trying with caramelized onions, slaw or different cheese for added variations.

Crockpot Pork with Pineapple Simply Spicy Sliders

  • 3 pounds country-style pork ribs, trimmed (short ribs or cut shoulder can be used)
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 3 ounces Texas Pete hot sauce
  • 16 ounces jar of Lillie’s Q Carolina Sauce (or your favorite NC Barbecue Sauce)
  • 1 shot of bourbon, optional
  • 20 cloves of garlic, each cut in half
  • Brioche or potato rolls (Brioche were used in the winning recipe)
  • 3 pineapple rings, halved

Set your slow cooker on low. Rinse off and pat dry the ribs. Rub the meat with salt, pepper and onion powder, place in slow cooker. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, except garlic. Pour the bowl mixture over ribs. Throw in the garlic and let it cook on low for 7 hours. Separate the meat using a fork. Put on a roll, top with half a pineapple ring and enjoy.