Thursday, March 6, 2008

Homage to the Sweet Potato

Running a seasonal restaurant can be really difficult in winter, especially late winter as it is now, because it's way too early for spring greens and because we're at the tail end of our storage vegetables from last fall. Recent forays to the farmer's market have yielded a bit of arugula, green onions, storage onions, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, leeks, potatoes, storage apples, and sweet potatoes—scant pickings compared to later this year.

This is truly the time of year that taxes our creativity the most. And my PM sous chef is a pretty creative guy. I give him props for his Sweet Potato Hash which is now firmly ensconced in my own personal repertoire. He makes this dish differently each time and so do I, but here is the general gist of what is a huge crowd pleaser here at the restaurant.

Sweet Potato Hash

1 T vegetable oil
1/2 lb slab bacon, rind off, in 3/8" dice
1 large sweet potato, in 3/8" dice
1 red onion, in 3/8" dice
1 c dried, sweetened cranberries
1 shot Bourbon (we use Maker's Mark or Wild Turkey)
salt and pepper to taste

Film the bottom of a large sauté pan with the oil and cook the bacon until half rendered. Add the sweet potato and cook half way. Add the onion and cranberries and cook for two to three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Bourbon. Cover and let cook, stirring every few minutes, until done. Season with salt and pepper. This is also good using a mix of half sweet potato and russet potato. Create your own version by adding herbs and garlic. Have fun!

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