Chile Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Orange

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Nick has perfected many recipes in our Rick Bayless cookbook collection, but this is one of my favorites. Not only do the bright flavors complement the sweet potatoes, but the dish makes a richly colored addition to the dinner table.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Rick Bayless, I highly recommend his cookbooks to anyone interested in learning more about preparing Mexican cuisine. (As well as a visit to any of his Chicago restaurants.)

Chile Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Orange

Adapted from Rick Bayless

Ingredients

5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 C chicken or vegetable broth
3 lbs sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1 Tbl orange zest
1/2 C fresh orange juice
2 Tbl honey
1 tsp salt
butter for baking dish

Method

To make the seasoning paste, roast the unpeeled garlic in a pan over medium heat until soft and blackening in spots, about 15 minutes.  Cool and peel. While garlic is roasting, use the same pan to roast the chiles one or two at a time. Open them flat and press them into the pan with a spatula, letting the chiles crackle. Toast both sides. Transfer chiles to a small bowl and cover with hot water.  Allow to rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the oregano, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, drained chiles, roasted garlic and broth in a food processor until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides as you work. Pass the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, honey and salt.

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice each of the sweet potatoes into four wedges, lengthwise. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Spoon the sauce evenly over the potatoes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until almost tender.

Raise the temperature to 425F, uncover the potatoes and baste with sauce.  Bake until the sauce has thickened into a glaze, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

show hide 8 comments

JoLynn - That looks like a good recipe worth trying. I wanted to know what you think about David Chang’s new cookbook-Momofuku? Worth buying?

JoLynn - That looks like a good recipe worth trying. I wanted to know what you think about David Chang’s new cookbook-Momofuku? Worth buying?

Terry, at Blue Kitchen - Marion saw this and sent me the link with the subject line “OMG!!!” Wow. I think I just saw Jesus, Gemma. We’re not religious people. What have you done to us?

Terry, at Blue Kitchen - Marion saw this and sent me the link with the subject line “OMG!!!” Wow. I think I just saw Jesus, Gemma. We’re not religious people. What have you done to us?

Elizabeth - Wow! I love sweet potatoes and this looks fabulous. Too many sweet potato recipes are too sweet for me. I boycott the marshmellow one at Thanksgiving. Looking forward to trying it out.

Elizabeth - Wow! I love sweet potatoes and this looks fabulous. Too many sweet potato recipes are too sweet for me. I boycott the marshmellow one at Thanksgiving. Looking forward to trying it out.

Gemma - Thanks JoLynn. I definitely think it is worth trying. Regarding Momofuku, I haven’t had a chance to page through it yet, but next time I am at the book store I definitely will. Chang is usually creating exciting recipes, so I bet it is good.
Thanks Terry and Marion! I hope you give it a try. It’s a great recipe. I hope your Chicago winter is off to a good start.
I completely agree Elizabeth. While I love sweet potatoes, many dishes using them are often too sweet for me. I definitely recommend giving this one a try!

Gemma - Thanks JoLynn. I definitely think it is worth trying. Regarding Momofuku, I haven’t had a chance to page through it yet, but next time I am at the book store I definitely will. Chang is usually creating exciting recipes, so I bet it is good.
Thanks Terry and Marion! I hope you give it a try. It’s a great recipe. I hope your Chicago winter is off to a good start.
I completely agree Elizabeth. While I love sweet potatoes, many dishes using them are often too sweet for me. I definitely recommend giving this one a try!

Molasses Pumpkin Pie

Pie

From the archives.

I don't know about you, but my Thanksgivings don't feel quite complete
until I am sinking my teeth into a slice of pumpkin pie.  There are
dozens of recipes out there, but this is my favorite.  The molasses gives depth to the creamy, delicately spiced filling, making this a subtle riff on the classic version. 

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

1 pie crust, rolled out and chilled in a pie dish
2/3 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
2 Tbl flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each of: allspice, cloves and ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C canned pumpkin
2 Tbl molasses
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 C whipping cream

Method

Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450F.  Combine
sugars, flour, spices and salt in a large bowl.  Add the pumpkin,
molasses, vanilla and eggs and incorporate the cream last.

Pour batter into chilled pie crust and bake for ten minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 325F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.  The
middle should be set and the sides of the pie should puff up a bit.

Allow pie to cool and serve at room temperature or chilled. 

I usually whip any excess cream with a touch of vanilla to serve
along with each slice.   This pie can be made up to a day ahead, making
it easy for large holiday dinners.

show hide 3 comments

Terry B - Pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite! I actually choose it over cake for my birthday. This sounds like a delicious version too, with the molasses. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Gemma.

Sherry - I was unhappy with my pumpkin pie choice this year. Made the whole day sucky..lol! Not really, pie is not that important – but close.

Gemma - Thanks Terry. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well. I’m with you on the pie over birthday cake selection!
Give this one a try next year, Sherry. I hope it works out better for you!

Popovers

Popovers 3

Popovers are one of my favorite additions to a weekend breakfast.  These airy, eggy breads look impressive, but are fairly easy to prepare.  The one caveat is that, in my experience, investing in a real popover pan like the one pictured makes a huge difference. In an effort to avoid a single-use piece of equipment, my first popover attempts used muffin tins and yielded disappointing results. (I now use this popover pan from Chicago Metallic.)

Popovers 1 Popovers 2

Popovers

Makes six popovers

Ingredients

1 3/4 C half-and-half, warmed*
2 C flour**
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbl butter, melted
1 Tbl Dijon mustard

Method

Heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat until just warm. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, butter and mustard – beat well to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the empty popover pan for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from the oven and, working quickly, spray the pan with a nonstick cooking spray and fill the cups almost to the top with batter.

Bake for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce heat to 375F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. Remove popovers from oven and pierce the sides with a sharp knife to let steam escape (to ensure they won't collapse). Serve immediately with butter.

(*You can substitute whole milk. **I've used both all-purpose and bread flour (high-gluten) with good results.)

show hide 4 comments

Jaclyn - Those look delicious! I don’t have any space in my kitchen for a popover pan at present, but I have a feeling it will be one of my first purchases in my soon-to-be bigger kitchen. Yum!

Gemma - Thanks Jaclyn! It is a pain to have cooking equipment that only has one real purpose, but I just love popovers and I’m willing to make an exception for them. Have fun in your new kitchen and let me know if you give them a try!

Alex-Sandra - Mmmm! Now I need a popover pan!! Could I add lemon zest, vanilla and a bit of sugar if i want them more sweet for sunday brunches?

Gemma - Hi Alex-Sandra, I think that would work just fine. Though, go easy on the additions so that you don’t add too much weight to the dough.

Popovers

Popovers 3

Popovers are one of my favorite additions to a weekend breakfast.  These airy, eggy breads look impressive, but are fairly easy to prepare.  The one caveat is that, in my experience, investing in a real popover pan like the one pictured makes a huge difference. In an effort to avoid a single-use piece of equipment, my first popover attempts used muffin tins and yielded disappointing results. (I now use this popover pan from Chicago Metallic.)

Popovers 1 Popovers 2

Popovers

Makes six popovers

Ingredients

1 3/4 C half-and-half, warmed*
2 C flour**
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbl butter, melted
1 Tbl Dijon mustard

Method

Heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat until just warm. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, butter and mustard – beat well to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the empty popover pan for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from the oven and, working quickly, spray the pan with a nonstick cooking spray and fill the cups almost to the top with batter.

Bake for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce heat to 375F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. Remove popovers from oven and pierce the sides with a sharp knife to let steam escape (to ensure they won't collapse). Serve immediately with butter.

(*You can substitute whole milk. **I've used both all-purpose and bread flour (high-gluten) with good results.)

show hide 4 comments

Jaclyn - Those look delicious! I don’t have any space in my kitchen for a popover pan at present, but I have a feeling it will be one of my first purchases in my soon-to-be bigger kitchen. Yum!

Gemma - Thanks Jaclyn! It is a pain to have cooking equipment that only has one real purpose, but I just love popovers and I’m willing to make an exception for them. Have fun in your new kitchen and let me know if you give them a try!

Alex-Sandra - Mmmm! Now I need a popover pan!! Could I add lemon zest, vanilla and a bit of sugar if i want them more sweet for sunday brunches?

Gemma - Hi Alex-Sandra, I think that would work just fine. Though, go easy on the additions so that you don’t add too much weight to the dough.

Alfajores

Alfajores
When Nick and I visited Buenos Aires this past summer, we fell in love with alfajores – dulce de leche cookies. On our last day, we picked up a giant jar of dulce de leche in the San Telmo neighborhood so that we could try making our own back in Chicago.  Nick beat me to it on a recent day off, and the results were amazing. These are without a doubt the best cookies I have ever eaten.

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Buenos Aires was a beautiful city that I hope to have the opportunity to visit again.  We ate delicious food, walked through charming neighborhoods and spent time with our awesome friends Peter, Pao and Arturo. I recently wrote a short article for Gapers Block about drinking in Argentina that I encourage you to read if you want to learn more about our trip (though I hope to post more on this site soon).

Nick’s Alfajores

Ingredients

1 3/4 C flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
8 Tbl butter, at room temperature
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl milk
15 oz dulce de leche*

Method

Combine flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a bowl.  Mix in the butter and then work in the egg yolks, milk and vanilla. Shape the dough into two separate balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about two hours.

Preheat oven to 325F. Roll out each ball of dough on a slightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thick. Cut using a two-inch cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheets covered with silpat mats. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies appear dry, but not so long that the cookies brown.

Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.  When cool, spread half the cookies with dulce de leche and top with the other half.  Serve with a café con leche for an irresistible treat.

A traditional way to serve the cookies is to roll the sides in shredded coconut.  We’re not big coconut fans, so we left ours plain.

*We used dulce de leche that we brought back from Argentina.  Feel free to use store bought or make your own.  There are plenty of traditional recipes out there, but I was extremely intrigued to find this recipe from the lovely blog Not Without Salt that calls for simply cooking a can of condensed milk in boiling water.  Brilliant.

show hide 15 comments

Nishta - yay! thanks, Nick for baking & Gemma for sharing. I have a friend who spent quite a bit of time in Argentina and still has cravings for all of the food. I’m going to make these to surprise him!

Nishta - yay! thanks, Nick for baking & Gemma for sharing. I have a friend who spent quite a bit of time in Argentina and still has cravings for all of the food. I’m going to make these to surprise him!

Nishta - follow-up…made these yesterday and WOW. getting rave reviews from friend & me (I had to save some for myself, right?). I used Not Without Salt’s dulce de leche method and it was ridiculously easy & satisfying.
I sprinkled a little sea salt on the caramel before sandwiching & did go with toasted coconut because I am a fan. these would be perfect as the end to a Latin-themed dinner party and may even make my Christmas cookie plate this year.
thanks so much Gemma!

Nishta - follow-up…made these yesterday and WOW. getting rave reviews from friend & me (I had to save some for myself, right?). I used Not Without Salt’s dulce de leche method and it was ridiculously easy & satisfying.
I sprinkled a little sea salt on the caramel before sandwiching & did go with toasted coconut because I am a fan. these would be perfect as the end to a Latin-themed dinner party and may even make my Christmas cookie plate this year.
thanks so much Gemma!

ellen - so good! a family friend from argentina always makes these around christmas! can’t wait to try your recipe!

ellen - so good! a family friend from argentina always makes these around christmas! can’t wait to try your recipe!

JoLynn - Ahhh my husband lived in Argentina for a period of time & loved it. We will try this recipe also.

JoLynn - Ahhh my husband lived in Argentina for a period of time & loved it. We will try this recipe also.

joe - Wow.. I can’t wait to make these, the picture looks really good too..

joe - Wow.. I can’t wait to make these, the picture looks really good too..

Janine at Rustic Kitchen - Lovely! My husband is from Uruguay, and at earlier this year we sent them home with our wedding guests:
http://www.rustickitchen.com/blog/?p=340
I think I might need to include them in my holiday baking.

Janine at Rustic Kitchen - Lovely! My husband is from Uruguay, and at earlier this year we sent them home with our wedding guests:
http://www.rustickitchen.com/blog/?p=340
I think I might need to include them in my holiday baking.

Gemma - Hi Nishta, I am so glad they worked out well for you. I absolutely love these cookies and I’m glad Nick let me share them with everyone! I’m also glad to hear that the Not Without Salt method worked for you. That is the route we are going once our Argentine supply runs out. Sea salt is a brilliant idea! I may have to try that.
Thanks Ellen, I hope all is well. Let’s get a drink soon!
Thanks, I hope they work well for you JoLynn, Joe and Janine!

Gemma - Hi Nishta, I am so glad they worked out well for you. I absolutely love these cookies and I’m glad Nick let me share them with everyone! I’m also glad to hear that the Not Without Salt method worked for you. That is the route we are going once our Argentine supply runs out. Sea salt is a brilliant idea! I may have to try that.
Thanks Ellen, I hope all is well. Let’s get a drink soon!
Thanks, I hope they work well for you JoLynn, Joe and Janine!

Nick - Making them with my sis right now! Trying out the can method for the dulce de leche. Thanks for posting this in an easy to find spot, Love.