A Comforting Alternative

There is something incredibly comforting about potatoes. Baked, fried, mashed, sauteed or roasted, potatoes fill us with joy and happiness and make us feel genuinely warm and loved. Whether it is the memories of our grandmother's meatloaf and mashed potatoes or eating crispy hash browns and eggs on a lazy Sunday morning with your adored partner, everyone loves spuds.

Yes, I, too, love our white root vegetable friend, but as I get older (and wiser), nutrients continue to play a much more important role in my food choices. On the nutritional scale, sweet potatoes* run circles around white potatoes which makes them a much better option. And their inherent sweetness and bright orange flesh makes them so much more fun.

The fact that they are packed with 400% of our daily Vitamin A requirements, have more Vitamin C, fiber and fewer calories and carbs than their white counterparts is reason enough for all of the hip burger joints to feature sweet potato fries on the menu. This change of tide is a clear sign that foods that are good for you are soaring in likability factor.

As I was wondering what to make to accompany our wahoo fish tacos, two sweet potatoes in the kitchen became the obvious side. One of my new favorite cookbooks, A Modern Way to Eat, is by Anna Jones, a protege of Jamie Oliver's who has come into her own and recently debuted her second cookbook, which is definitely on my to-buy list.

To celebrate her growing international success and gospel of eating healthier, I decided to make her recipe for baked sweet potato fries with a succulent dipping sauce of Greek yogurt, chipotle, sun-dried tomatoes and a touch of maple syrup.

Rich and creamy with a touch of heat from the smoky chipotles and just enough sweetness from the sun-dried tomatoes and maple syrup, this dipping sauce is a stand-out accompaniment for baked sweet potato fries. The yogurt adds a source of protein and a punch of welcome probiotics, which we all need more of, to create a low calorie and creamy sauce.

The fries and sauce both disappeared. We fought over who got to lick the sauce bowl and then started contemplating other ways we could incorporate this delectable chipotle dipping sauce into our culinary world.

*Note: Be sure not to confuse yams with sweet potatoes, as sweet potatoes have far more nutrients.

Buen provecho!
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
The Cowgirl Gourmet thanks Anna Jones and her cookbook, a modern way to eat, for this recipe which has been adapted

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These fries are unlike anything you have ever had. The polenta crisps up and gives these a spectacular added crunch factor, while the yogurt-chipotle-maple syrup dipping sauce leaves you contemplating what else you could use this sauce on. Dip away, friends, as these sweet potato fries are not fried but baked to perfection. This recipe could easily be doubled for more fun.

Serves 2-3

2 medium sweet potatoes, organic, if possible, and washed and sliced into spears (about 3-4" wide by 1/4" thick)
2 tablespoons fine polenta or grits
Olive oil or grapeseed oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Maldon salt, for plating

For the chipotle dipping sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
2 chipotles and a bit of the sauce
Handful of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, about 4-6, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the cut sweet potato fries in a colander and run cold water over them to remove some of the starch. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel and spread them over a baking sheet.

Scatter the polenta evenly over the potatoes and then add a few glugs of olive oil, a few pinches of salt and some grinds of fresh black pepper. Toss everything together until coated.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the polenta has crisped and the fries are starting to turn golden brown. Half way through the baking process, you may want to check on the fries--either turn the tray around to even the cooking or flip the fries--but do check on them.

While the fries are baking, make the dipping sauce. In a mini food processor, add all of the ingredients together and puree until blended. If the sauce is a little too thick, add a tablespoon of olive oil or water to thin it out a bit.

Taste the sauce and add a little more salt and pepper, if you want.

When the fries are cooked to perfection, sprinkle them with a bit of Maldon salt, serve and dip away!

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