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October 29, 2006

Halloween Sweet Potato Salad

My department at work is having a Halloween potluck tomorrow. I decided that I wanted to come up with a dish in Halloween colors, so I decided on a sweet potato and black bean salad. (Pumpkin was another possibility, but I've done quite a bit of cooking with pumpkin recently - which I should discuss in another entry - and I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle another one. I've got a callus at the base of my right index finger from all the cleaver-chopping involved in breaking down my first pumpkin.)

I started with this Epicurious recipe, and tinkered. Some tinkering was by design - I added black beans, and decided to replace the red bell pepper with roasted pasilla peppers. Some was by accident - I came back from the grocery store and discovered that I'd forgotten to buy limes. I had one in the fridge, as well as a couple of small blood oranges - so I made the dressing with half lime juice, and half blood orange juice. This was a serendipitous substitution - the sweetness of the blood orange juice goes wonderfully with the sweet potato. (Regular orange juice would probably work just about as well.)

I set off the smoke alarm while roasting the pasilla peppers. (I did them straight on the burner. Next time, I'll use the broiler.) I think I need to be very very nice to Mr. Spaceling for the rest of today.

Read on for the recipe.

The Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch. chunks
  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped

The Steps

  1. Cover the sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy. (When a fork goes in all the way easily, they're done.) Drain the sweet potatoes.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, roast the pasilla peppers by placing them under a broiler or over a gas flame and turning until they are charred all over. Put them in a paper bag and and let them steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the dressing: whisk together olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and lime and orange juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. When peppers have finished steaming, rub off the charred skins with your fingers. (Pasillas have kind of thin skins. It's kind of tricky to get all of the skin off. I settled for most of it.) Remove the seeds from the peeled peppers, and cut them into short strips.
  5. Combine the sweet potatoes, peppers, black beans, cilantro, scallions, and dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle in a little extra olive oil if necessary.
Makes a lot of servings.

The salad has been covered with plastic wrap and is now chilling in the fridge. I'll report on how it goes over tomorrow.

Posted by spaceling at October 29, 2006 11:34 AM

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