baked sweet potatoes, spinach and mushroom filling

A month ago, I was sitting on a bus to Pearl Harbor and Tuesday sent me the following text message regarding the items in her produce delivery bin: “Mushrooms lemons limes sweet potatoes spinach and green pepper this week IDEAS?”

After verifying potato size, the first thought that came to mind was a baked sweet potato with vegetable filling. (Novel? No. Really tasty and inexpensive? Yes.) Sweet potatoes are a perfect vehicle for eating other foods — chili, spicy chickpea stew, caramelized onions with greens and a runny egg on top — and one that you can feel virtuous about. I assert to you that this recipe should be added to the above list of excellent sweet potato passengers; even my very picky mother and sister agree.

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ingredients:

  • 4 baking-sized sweet potatoes
  • 4 handfuls of spinach (kale, collards, chard, or other greens would work well, too)
  • 2 c. mushrooms (I used shitakes, but portabellas, buttons, or others would be equally delicious)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp butter (or olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, other oil that you like)
  • 2/3 c. heavy whipping cream (milk or the unflavored dairy-alternative of your choice would also work)
  • fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

directions:

Heat oven to 400F and place sweet potatoes on a baking dish in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes. (Alternative if you don’t mind using a microwave and are trying to get dinner on the table quickly: Stab the potato several times with a fork and wrap in a wet cloth or paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes.)

Heat butter in a sauté pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Dice onion and mince garlic; add to pan and cook until onions become translucent. Wash and slice mushrooms and add to pan. Allow mushrooms to soften for 10-15 minutes. Add spinach and cover. Stir intermittently every few minutes so the spinach wilts evenly. When the vegetables are fully combined and the spinach is wilted, add cream or milk. Add freshly ground salt and pepper to taste, and give several minutes for the mixture to simmer and thicken. If you used milk/a milk alternative, you might want to add a tbsp. of flour or cornstarch to help the liquid thicken.

Serve overtop baked sweet potato and dig in, or first garnish with one or a combination of these possibilities — the zest of a lemon, some grated parmesan, chopped and toasted pecans.

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When I offer recipe suggestions to Tuesday, I try to keep the ingredient list pretty flexible. No need to be running to the store on a weeknight to pick up a special kind of salt or an additional vegetable. One should feel liberated to swap out a disliked or unavailable ingredient to make the recipe work for the cook’s tastes. Feel free to ask about substitutions or omissions in a comment.

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