Roasted Sweet Potato with Corn and Bacon

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

If I was asked where on the globe my fantasy house and beach is, I would probably say the Maldives or the Caribbean. I’ve never been to either of these places, but from what I have seen I imagine it would be the perfect place that fits into my fantasy world. They’ve got the lush green palm trees, the piercing turquoise seas, the white beaches—and they’ve got the food I crave, in both my worlds.

I have been smitten by the Caribbean cuisine. It includes all my favorites—seafood, chicken and steak—all prepared with the flavorful and colorful ingredients of the islands. Influences come from  the Spanish, British, French, and Dutch settlers, as well as Africans, Indians and Chinese; popular dishes include coconut shrimp, jerk chicken pasta, chicken kabobs, ribs with guava BBQ sauce and Key Lime Pie. Caribbean cuisine is like a cultural kaleidoscope: each turn brings on a new flavorful dish, which represents the plentiful bounty of the islands’ lush tropical vegetation, combined with the one or more diverse groups of people that have lived there.

I loved to cook up dishes in the Caribbean style in the summer, when the grill is out! The jerk style of cooking is native to Jamaica, where meats like beef, goat or chicken are dry-rubbed with a spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. The jerk seasoning usually contains allspice and scotch bonnet peppers as the main spices and cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and garlic as additional flavors. The meat is typically barbecued over charcoal, which gives it that famous “burnt” look.


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If I was asked where on the globe my fantasy house and beach is, I would probably say the Maldives or the Caribbean. I’ve never been to either of these places, but from what I have seen I imagine it would be the perfect place that fits into my fantasy world. They’ve got the lush green palm trees, the piercing turquoise seas, the white beaches—and they’ve got the food I crave, in both my worlds.

I have been smitten by the Caribbean cuisine. It includes all my favorites—seafood, chicken and steak—all prepared with the flavorful and colorful ingredients of the islands. Influences come from  the Spanish, British, French, and Dutch settlers, as well as Africans, Indians and Chinese; popular dishes include coconut shrimp, jerk chicken pasta, chicken kabobs, ribs with guava BBQ sauce and Key Lime Pie. Caribbean cuisine is like a cultural kaleidoscope: each turn brings on a new flavorful dish, which represents the plentiful bounty of the islands’ lush tropical vegetation, combined with the one or more diverse groups of people that have lived there.

I loved to cook up dishes in the Caribbean style in the summer, when the grill is out! The jerk style of cooking is native to Jamaica, where meats like beef, goat or chicken are dry-rubbed with a spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. The jerk seasoning usually contains allspice and scotch bonnet peppers as the main spices and cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and garlic as additional flavors. The meat is typically barbecued over charcoal, which gives it that famous “burnt” look.

The chicken turns out simply fantastic; but the real focus here is my side of roasted sweet potatoes, corn and bacon. The intense, sharp and hot flavors of the chicken pair so well with the slight sweetness of the sweet potato and corn side.

Method:

  1. Scrub potatoes well. Dry and brush with oil. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet and cook at 200ºC (392°F) for 45-60 minutes until done. Remove from oven, peel and cut into cubes and set aside.
  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet along with the onions until the bacon is nice and crispy and the onions are translucent.
  1. Add the corn kernels and heat through, then add the sweet potato cubes and toss to incorporate the ingredients, making sure not to mash the potatoes.
  1. Sprinkle with mint leaves and transfer to a serving bowl.
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