I love fall. Love it! The beautiful colors, the cooler temperatures, the gorgeous bounty at the produce stand. The season inspired today’s recipe (pictured above): Sweet potatoes with a Persian flair! They’re topped with a fresh raw apple-mint salsa.
One of the farmers at the market told me that this year’s apples in New York and the surrounding region are particularly good. The heavy rainfall we experienced in these parts this year made them grow big, juicy, and tasty. Yum!
The sweet potatoes also seem to taste quite delicous this year as well. I wonder if that has anything to do with the increased rainfall? I’m no farmer, and certainly not a good gardener (much to my chagrin), so maybe I’m wrong. Sweet potatoes grow in the ground and not on a tree. Hmmmm, I wonder.
Anyways, my favorite way to cook sweet potatoes lately is in the slow cooker. It’s so easy. Fast, it isn’t, but they can cook as you go about your day. The gentle heat gets them really tender and sweet. So the crockpot method is the one we’ll use for the benefit of this recipe, but you can use other cooking techniques as well.
Note: this recipe can easily be doubled or halved.
Saffron Sweet Potatoes with Raw Apple Mint Salsa
4 medium sweet potatoes
2/3 cup of filtered water
Pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sweet potatoes: Clean tubers thoroughly. Make sure all traces of dirt and grit are removed. Pat potatoes dry and place in slow cooker. Pour in filtered water and cook for 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low. (Note: If not using crockpot, prick the sweet potatoes’ surfaces with a fork, wrap them in foil, and roast them in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a fork through the sweet potato. You might have to cook them longer.)
Once cooked, remove sweet potatoes from slow cooker or oven and let cool a few minutes until you can handle them safely. Peel the skins from the sweet potatoes. Don’t worry if they fall to pieces; this is fine. Place sweet potatoes back in the slow cooker or baking dish and smash with a fork or potato masher. Then mix in the spices and a bit of water if needed. Cook on high for ten minutes to integrate the flavors. If using oven, ten minutes will suffice, also at 375.
Raw Apple Mint Salsa
1 small onion
2 tablespoons of dried cherries or dried cranberries
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons of roasted chestnuts (you can buy these bagged!)
1 tablespoon of roasted pumpkin seeds, or any other seeds you like.
Sprinkling of pickled beets
For the dressing
1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil
For the salsa: Dice the apples and onions. In a roomy bowl, mix together with mint, cherries, chestnuts, seeds, and beets. Push aside the chopped mixture and use the bottom of the bowl to make the dressing by mixing the apple cider vinegar, honey, and olive oil vigorously with a fork to emulsify. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
To put the two together:
Scoop out a portion of the sweet potatoes and top them with the apple salsa.