November 18, 2010

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Pecans

This dish rounded out our recent Jamaican feast.  It's pretty easy to make - just peel and chop up the sweet potatoes, toss them into a Dutch oven, add the other ingredients, put the lid on and toss the whole thing in the oven to bake for awhile.  It's also quite tasty.  The sweet potatoes come out melt-in-your-mouth tender without being over-done to the point of falling apart, or turning all mealy, as can happen when they dry out too much during cooking.

This makes a great side dish.  It went well with the the Double-Spiced Jerk Pork and the Jamaican Rice and Peas, adding a sweet counterpoint to the pork while being more substantial than the rice and beans. This is a versatile enough dish that that it would work with a lot of different meals, though.   I anticipate making it to serve alongside a range of poultry and pork dishes in the future (I've got a pork roast especially in mind), and although it would be somewhat an atypical choice, I could see it being quite popular as a Thanksgiving offering. 

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Pecans

yield = 6-8 ample servings

4       pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1/2    cup chopped pecans
1/2    cup flaked, sweetened coconut + 2 tablespoons for serving
1/3    cup granulated sugar
1/3    cup packed light brown sugar
1/2    teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4    teaspoon salt
1/2    cup coconut milk
1/4    cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a large Dutch oven with cooking spray.

Add sweet potatoes to the Dutch oven.  Mix together pecans, sugars, cinnamon and salt and spread atop the sweet potatoes.  Add the coconut milk and melted butter.  Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with two tablespoons coconut and serve.

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