Black beans and sweet potatoes?

Last week was black bean and sweet potato week here at the Baker house.  I know that probably sounds strange to you, because it did to me a couple of weeks ago.  But we (and by “we” I mean Craig) had purchased many, many pounds of sweet potatoes about a month ago, and they needed to be eaten.  And black beans are cheap (as were sweet potatoes, hence our abundance).  And I generally trust Moosewood cookbooks, so I thought I’d give the “black bean and sweet potato hash” a try.  Now, I’m not one to make hashes, as a general rule, so this involved a little bravery to start with.  Here’s the recipe, so you can see for yourself what I was getting into.

1-2T olive oil
2c chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
6c peeled diced sweet potatoes (1/2″ pieces)
1 jalapeno, minced
1T coriander
1T cumin
1t salt
1c frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 c black beans (15 oz can, drained)
splash of water or OJ
dash of salt
cayenne or hot pepper sauce
Heat oil in large, deep, nonstick skillet. Add onions and saute on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Stir in garlic, cook for a few seconds, then add sweet potatoes. Cover the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Add jalapeno, coriander, cumin, and salt; then use spatula to turn potatoes, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add corn and black beans, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. If potatoes are still too firm, add a little water or OJ, cover, and cook on low heat until potatoes are tender. Add salt and stir in cayenne or hot pepper sauce to taste.
3. Serve topped with minced scallions or chopped cilantro, or sour cream.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Hash

Not complicated, just a bit of chopping.  Let me just say, it was amazing.  And there was nothing in it that Samantha can’t eat!  And it’s all baby-bite sized.  That is always a bonus.  And it’s loaded with nutrition.  And the leftovers were amazing – I added cheese and put it in a tortilla and went to that happy place where rich, sweet, delicious things take me.

In fact, it went so well that I decided it required a follow-up recipe.  Namely, “Caribbean sweet potato gratin”, which again pairs sweet potatoes and black beans, but adds…well, see for yourself.

Caribbean sweet potato gratin

That’s right, lime.  Lots of it.  Now, I won’t claim this is “quick and easy”, because it’s not complicated (as long as you remember to shake the coconut milk first) but it did take a while.  But then I sat back and waited for deliciousness to prepare itself for my tastebuds.  I’m pretty sure this is the most nutritious thing I’ve cooked ever.  Yes, it’s fatty, but it’s better fat than Oreos or any of the other things I could have eaten instead.  And everything in it is rainbow-colored “superfood”.  Choose your diet, all but the coconut milk should fit in.

Craig loved it.  Lucy and Samantha ate it.  I was a little overwhelmed by the lime and cornmeal, possibly because I had been grating/juicing lime for a while at that point and reeked of it.  But it was good.  Sweet potatoes and black beans.  Who knew!

And I was thinking, it’s strange really that I write so little on here about food, since food takes up so much of my time.  (Actually, maybe that is why I write about it so little!)  I really like cooking, provided no one is wrapped around my legs and screaming, and I like thinking about cooking, and talking about cooking.  And it doesn’t bother me to be “tied up” in the kitchen for an hour or two making dinner.  (The dishes are a different story, but I’m working on that.)

Anyway, if you like sweet potatoes, you owe it to yourself to try the hash at least.  If you like lime, too, try both!  Let me know what you think.

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