Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The best laid plans of taco nite

I adore Amy Green's blog, so when she she came out with a cookbook I went right over to Amazon to preorder! Since the happy day that it arrived in my mailbox I have been trying things out and loving every single one, with the possible exception of carob. I feel for people who are avoiding sugar and dairy, and thus inadvertently depriving themselves of a lot of chocolate. Chocolate is proof someone, somewhere loves us. But I digress. Taco Nite! She does a recipe for sweet potato and black bean tacos that I have been dying to try and this was the perfect event! Except I couldn't find my steamer. Hmm. Well, what about parboiling, then roasting? I can do that. And I have black beans in my pantry; I wasn't going to go spend money on canned beans when I can soak beans during day then cook overnight. (yes, if you are new here, OCD is often mentioned in connection with me, however did you guess?) And then I caught some show on the Food Network with Bobby Flay doing a sweet potato taco-where he used some glaze with maple syrup and chipotle. Hmm.... So the resulting tacos were more of a homage to both of these amazing chefs.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

3 largish sweet potatoes (approximately 3lbs)
3 cups black beans, cooked with cooking liquid. (I soaked for 8 hours while at work, then cooked slowly in crock pot overnight. Amy used cans of black beans (use 3). you choose!)
1 yellow onion, chopped.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Chipotle Tabasco
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt (but really, salt to taste-this is just a guideline)
1 tablespoon scotch
2 limes, juiced.
4 limes, cut into wedges

Corn Tortillas
Toppings of your choice

Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces. Yeah, a pain, but the more even your pieces, the faster and more evenly your potatoes will cook. Put in a large stockpot and just cover with water and bring to boil. Now, we are parboiling these, so just boil long enough so that they just start to give when pressed, but are not soft enough for a fork to go through! Maybe 5 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 425 degreesF.
In a small bowl, whisk the syrup, Tabsaco, scotch and spices together. Now add lime juice to taste- I like lime, you may not, but all that smokey spicy sweetness needs a tart counterpoint so please use the juice of at least one lime. Now pour over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Line a rimmed cookie sheet (don't want sweet potatoes escaping onto your oven floor) with aluminium foil (you don't want to clean maple syrup off your pan) and place into your hot oven. Roast potatoes for 25 minutes or so til all is smelling wonderful and there is a little crisp edge to the potatoes. Take them out and let cool slightly. Turn oven down to 200 degreesF and throw in a group of tortillas to warm through.
While the potatoes are roasting, heat oil of your choice (we used safflower) over med/high heat and saute the onion in a large skillet. When the onion is nearly translucent and smelling lovely, add in in 1 cup of the beans. Mash the beans into the onion. You may need to add a little of the cooking liquid (or can liquid) to get it to a nice consistency. Now add in the remaining beans and combine thoroughly. I like the combination of some mashed, some whole; feel free to mash all the beans if you choose. Ok, potatoes done. Beans done. Toss them together in a large bowl. Serve with tortillas, and taco toppings of choice. We followed Amy's suggestion of queso fresco for those who could have dairy, Daiya cheese for those who couldn't, shredded red cabbage, squeeze of fresh lime juice and Amy's great carrot and jicama slaw. Do as you will! served about 8, generously.


  1. Hi Jamie!

    Love that you used chipotle and maple syrup...yum! And, FYI - I usually use home cooked beans, too. In fact, I cook a big pot and freeze them in 2 cup portions. Rarely do I use canned beans but I wanted to give people a quick and simple option for making dinner. And, for many canned beans are easier.

    I am humbled that you called me a chef...really I think of myself as a good home cook.

    Much love,
    Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  2. Amy! true true, canned is an easy option for many, so am glad you included it :) and that you aren't horribly offended i took your recipe in odd directions! and hey, you work hard to perfect your craft and teach others-isn't that what all chefs do? :) much love jamie