Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

Football season is in full swing, and for me, the best part of watching a game is the spread of snacks that goes along with it. I was recently contacted by The Alcalde, which is an online magazine for the University of Texas alumni, and they asked if I’d like to submit a gameday recipe for this week. I’d be useless in a conversation about football stats, but coming up with food to serve at parties, I can do. Mine is one of four gameday recipes by Austin food bloggers who also happen to have graduated from UT. I wanted to use something seasonal for fall, and sweet potatoes are plentiful right now. There’s a recipe for sweet potato cakes in the book Plenty which is where this idea started. I imagined little, crisp cakes with some added big flavors that would still be easy to pick up at a party. I made some changes to the sweet potato cakes from the book by keeping them simple with just green onion added to the batter and by forming them in a nice, small size. And, since sweet potatoes and chiles belong together, I mixed a chipotle black bean salsa to sit on top and added sour cream for tanginess.

The sweet potato cakes in Plenty have some red chiles and soy sauce in addition to chopped green onions mixed into the batter for extra flavor. I added only green onion and salt and black pepper. Big chunks of peeled sweet potatoes were steamed until tender, allowed to drain until dry, and then mashed with a potato masher. Flour, the green onions, and salt and pepper were added and mixed in by hand, and then small cakes were formed. This process could be done in advance, and the cakes could be stored on a baking sheet in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fry them. They were fried for a few minutes per side in a mix of olive oil and butter, and the butter really adds great flavor. For the chipotle black bean salsa, finely chopped chipotle, small diced yellow bell pepper, minced red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, black beans, lime juice, and some salt were combined, and that’s it. Of course, taste as you go to decide it you’d like more chipotle heat and/or salt. The salsa could also be prepared in advance. For serving, the cakes were topped with sour cream which acts like a glue and holds the salsa in place.

At this size, the cakes hold together well for picking up off a tray, and each one offers a bite or two of sweet, tangy, spicy, fresh flavors. I highly recommend them for a gameday party. Just don’t ask me who won.

Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

For the sweet potato cakes:
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

(Makes 34 small cakes)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 tablespoons butter

-Steam the sweet potato chunks for 15-20 minutes until completely tender, and then transfer to a colander and allow to drain until dry.
- Once very dry, place sweet potato chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher to break up chunks. Add flour and finely chopped green onions, and mix with your hands to form a smooth batter. Using your hands here is best so that it doesn’t become over mixed. In a food processor, the sweet potato mixture could quickly become gummy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once the mixture is smooth, and the flour and green onions are mixed in, you’re ready to fry. Note: the mixture should be sticky but not wet, so more flour may be needed.
- In a non-stick skillet, heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Form round, flat cakes from about two tablespoons of batter per cake, and fry four or five at a time for three minutes per side until golden. Transfer finished cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Add more oil and butter to pan between batches as needed, and continue frying a few cakes at a time until all are ready for their toppings.

For the black bean salsa:
1 16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 small, yellow bell pepper, small diced
¼ cup finely minced red onion
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
¼ teaspoon salt

-Combine all salsa ingredients, starting with one chipotle, in a small bowl and stir to combine. Taste for chipotle heat and add more if desired, and taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Salsa can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

To assemble for serving:
½ cup sour cream

- Place sweet potato cakes on a serving platter and add a small dollop of sour cream to each. Top sour cream with a small spoonful of black bean salsa, and enjoy.




47 comments:

  1. wow These sweet potato cakes must be very very delicious!

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  2. That is an awesome recipe! What a mouthwatering combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. very little football food is veg friendly, but I could see this pleasing just about everyone at a tailgating or football-watching party! These look amazing!

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  4. This is definitely the kind of dish I love. QAs years go on I seem to love vegetarian dishes more than wheat we might usually eat. My dad has been right all along...can I say that:D

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  5. Adorable little cakes, and perfect to watch a game... which we are doing right now

    like you, I have football-watching food in my mind lately.

    BTW, I got Plenty per your recommendation a couple of months ago - very nice cookbook indeed!

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  6. Oh Lisa, they look absolutely heavenly! I just love the way you "throw" a recipe together. I've never even considered sweet potatoes and chiles. What world do I live in:)

    Thank you so much for sharing. I bet this recipe scored big!!!

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  7. Oh goodness, I forgot to tell you about the Cookbook Party I'm having, drop by when you get a chance...October is National Cookbook Month! (amongst other things:)

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  8. Wow congratulations, Lisa!! Your gameday recipe is definitely magazine worthy! It's so tempting and I'm loving the fall colors of this snack!

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  9. Oh my, what a great recipe, I love this and your photos are fab. How creative you are with these sweet potato cakes they look delicious.

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  10. Love these! What a fantastic recipe and perfect for fall entertaining. This is a must make!!! :)

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  11. I am soooooooo feeling these! I would probably eat the whole batch in one go :D
    *kisses* HH

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  12. I can't even tell you how great these look. Bookmarked!

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  13. These look so delicious, I think I might have more than one serving of it. Love the photos, Nice blog :)

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  14. Yum, potato cakes are so tasty and comforting and these look elevated to a whole new level with the yummy salsa on top!

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  15. I think you are so good of cooking! they look lovely.I like your step by step pictures as well.

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  16. I've made something similar before. Perfect party food.

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  17. I'm always looking for great "pick up and eat" things for parties that I cater. I think it's much better for everyone to have easy to eat things rather than lots of plate and fork food. These are terrific - really different and I just know they are delicious. I'm on a sweet potato kick right now and I will make these for sure.

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  18. Wow, this is just perfect for this season! Lovely!

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  19. No American football for me but we have been in front of the tv at 6:30 a.m. too many mornings this past couple of weeks to watch the Rugby World Bup matches! Yay! And oh how I love sweet potatoes and this recipe is fabulous!! Love it! Anytime...

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  20. This will make a perfect appetizer in parties. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.


    Check out my 200th post Giveaway

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  21. Likewise i can't talk football but I can talk recipes; this one is a keeper, even that salsa is one I would try on its own. funnily, today I made some carrot pancakes just to use up some extra carrots.

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  22. So pretty and color coordinated for the Longhorns. Hope y'all won on Sat.! Also reminds me I still need to pick up Plenty.

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  23. Just gave these a try and they are fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Your dishes are always so healthy, nutritious and beautifully presented.

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  25. Thanks, Emily! So glad you enjoyed.

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  26. From the first photo to the ingredient list, you got me. I love "cakes" made out of vegetables and haven't tried sweet potato cakes yet.

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  27. This looks great, making that asap as I have a great influx of sweet potatoes!

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  28. These look amazing! I'm on a diet at the moment so these should go down a treat. Lovely blog!

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  29. I also would't have a clue who won the game, or even who was playing the game. These looks great to serve at any kind of party. I love the idea of making them with lots of extra chipotle for a good kick of smokey heat.

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  30. Love these! They'd be great for a party. Though, I could make a meal of them alone. ;)

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  31. i've had sweet potato cakes only once before, and they were unimpressive. they weren't spicy at all, though, and there certainly wasn't any black bean salsa involved. these look positively stellar, lisa!

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  32. Saw these on Foodbuzz and buzzed them! They are adorable and sound delicious!!! I am now following you by email :)

    http://steaknpotatoeskindagurl.blogspot.com

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  33. I am so sold on these sweet potato cakes! I absolutely adore spicy sweet potato dishes. I've been hearing so much about Plenty lately—I might just have to order it today.

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  34. Could I freeze these cakes once made?

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  35. Anonymous: I haven't tried freezing the cakes, but I suspect it would work fine. You could warm them in the oven directly from the freezer to re-crisp the surfaces.

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  36. I'm thinking about making these for guests this week but one is gluten-free. Do you think this could easily be made with say garbanzo flour?

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  37. Peaceful Reader: I think garbanzo flour would work fine. You might want to start with less than the half cup suggested for AP flour and see how it binds the mixture. Then, add more if you feel it needs it.

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  38. Hi I'd like to make these for a party. Can you bake them? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't tried baking them, so I'm not sure what kind of texture they'll have. Also, I think I'd miss the flavor from the mix of butter and olive oil from frying.

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  39. Disappointed to discover these were made with yams and not actual sweet potatos.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous: No, these were made with sweet potatoes. We don't actually get yams in our markets here.

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  40. This recipe was absolutely delish! Perfect combination of sweet, hot/spicey & tangy w/sour cream. I made them as a meal served w/tossed salad. One of my favorite meals I'll have again and again!

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  41. These were a BIG hit at our house. The flavor combinations are just so yummy. Looking forward to having them again. Thanks for sharing.

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