Chile Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Orange


Nick has perfected many recipes in our Rick Bayless cookbook collection, but this is one of my favorites. Not only do the bright flavors complement the sweet potatoes, but the dish makes a richly colored addition to the dinner table.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Rick Bayless, I highly recommend his cookbooks to anyone interested in learning more about preparing Mexican cuisine. (As well as a visit to any of his Chicago restaurants.)

Chile Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon and Orange

Adapted from Rick Bayless


5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
6 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 C chicken or vegetable broth
3 lbs sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1 Tbl orange zest
1/2 C fresh orange juice
2 Tbl honey
1 tsp salt
butter for baking dish


To make the seasoning paste, roast the unpeeled garlic in a pan over medium heat until soft and blackening in spots, about 15 minutes.  Cool and peel. While garlic is roasting, use the same pan to roast the chiles one or two at a time. Open them flat and press them into the pan with a spatula, letting the chiles crackle. Toast both sides. Transfer chiles to a small bowl and cover with hot water.  Allow to rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the oregano, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, drained chiles, roasted garlic and broth in a food processor until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides as you work. Pass the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, honey and salt.

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice each of the sweet potatoes into four wedges, lengthwise. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Spoon the sauce evenly over the potatoes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until almost tender.

Raise the temperature to 425F, uncover the potatoes and baste with sauce.  Bake until the sauce has thickened into a glaze, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Lemon and Herb Potato Salad

Potato2 copy
Picnic salads were a staple at summer events growing up in a small Midwestern town. All manner of egg salads, potato salads and pasta salads could be found at any reasonably sized gathering.  I'm not sure if it was the mayonnaise, questionable refrigeration methods, or the prevalence of raw onions -- but I usually made a point to avoid these offerings in my younger years.

As my palate has grown, so has my desire to revisit these classic dishes and make them worthy of their place at our family table. Thanks to my father's bountiful herb garden, I was inspired to try this flavorful twist on potato salad at our recent Independence Day celebration. This recipe could be easily adapted to the assortment of fresh herbs in your garden.

Lemon and Herb Potato Salad
adapted from Bon Appétit

3 pounds baby red potatoes
3 Tbl unseasoned rice vinegar
3/4 C mayonnaise
4 medium chives, thinly sliced
1 Tbl fresh oregano
1 Tbl fresh thyme
2 Tbl fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper

Rinse the potatoes and pierce them once with a fork. Bring them to a boil in a large pot of salted water.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the potatoes until tender, about 17 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough work with.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces.  Place into a large boil and toss with the vinegar and some salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.