Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing

This salad is phenomenal and perhaps the best combination of fall flavors. I even was so bold (and so cheesy) to make it once for a Halloween party, Hey, how often do you come across a recipe that involves orange and black?

I also frequently add chorizo to this salad to make it a bit heartier. Regardless, it is absolutely moreish and rarely did I have any leftovers the next day!


4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeƱo
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked black beans, drained (canned are fine)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.
Yield: 4 servings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chilaquiles for a Crowd

An adapted version of the Mexican home-cooking classic, from the rock star, Rick Bayless. 

Yes, it looks like an ungodly mess. Trust me, it's delicious. And easy.

This recipe is unstoppable, whether for 20 people or just you and a friend. It will be gone before you know it.

Serves 12 to 16


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced (divided use)
3 16-ounce jars of salsa, preferably fire-roasted tomatillo salsa
1 quart chicken broth
24 ounces tortilla chips, preferably the rustic home-style ones from a local tortilleria
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
2 to 3 cups (10 ounces to a pound) coarsely shredded cooked chicken - I use leftover grilled chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken (optional)
3/4 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche or sour cream thinned with a little milk or cream
1/2 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese such as Romano or Parmesan (optional)
A handful of cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a very large (6-quart) Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Add about two thirds of the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until richly browned.
Add the salsa and broth and bring to a boil. When the sauce is at a rolling boil, turn off the heat and stir in the chips and shredded cheese. Press the chips down to ensure that nearly all are submerged; a few on the top may still be sticking out.
Strew the chicken over the top, cover and let stand for 3 or 4 minutes. Gently stir everything together, then drizzle with the crema, and sprinkle with the onion, optional grated queso anejo and cilantro. Serve without hesitation.

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