October 4, 2009

Fire Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes roasting in the embers

The finished product topped with maple syrup and cinnamon infused butter.

For this recipe it is important to select extra large sweet potatoes. The larger size is needed because approx 10-20% of the potato will be lost during the cooking process. Using a charcoal chimney light one full chimney of natural lump charcoal. Allow the charcoal to burn in the chimney until the pieces on top are covered in ash. For reference the charcoal should be ready in approx 20 minutes. Dump the charcoal out evenly over the bottom of the grill. Using a pair of long handled tongs, place the sweet potatoes directly on the coals and pile up the charcoal around them. Every ten minutes turn the potato a quarter turn until the exterior is completely charred. Cooking time is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. To test for doneness insert a sharp knife into the potato. The knife should be easy to insert and withdraw with very little resistance. Using tongs, remove the potato from the coals and set it aside to cool. Once the potato has cooled enough to handle; slice the potato open and top with butter infused with maple syrup/cinnamon. I suppose it goes without saying but here is the disclaimer anyway... don't eat the charred exterior of the potato. After this cooking process the only edible part will be the sweet, orange flesh on the inside of the potato. This is a very satisfying side dish. The potato pictured above was served to my guests as an appetizer and only lasted a couple minutes.
Butter Infused with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon:
1 stick of butter softened
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix until everything is well incorporated. The flavored butter may be used right away or can be made ahead and frozen for use later. To freeze spoon the butter mixture onto the middle edge of a piece of saran wrap. Gently roll up the saran wrap and then twist the ends (turn left hand counter clockwise, right hand clockwise) this will compress the butter into a nice uniform cylinder. The package can be labeled and then frozen. The butter can be removed from the freezer and allowed to thaw before use or individual pats of butter can be sliced off for single uses.

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