Eat like the Obamas - Sweet Potatoes & Winter Greens (Eatwell Recipe 43) ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eat like the Obamas - Sweet Potatoes & Winter Greens (Eatwell Recipe 43)

On those rare occasions when I succeed in dragging myself to the gym, I end up reading whatever trashy celebrity gossip mags people have left behind. I know they are total crap but they are highly effective at taking my mind off the fact that I am slogging away at something boring and painful like climbing stairs for 30 minutes...

By the time I finished my workout last Friday, I knew who'd broken up with who, who'd been arrested for DUI, who'd gotten their pre-baby body back in record time, and who was wearing what. But I had also found an unexpected gem buried amidst these shallow and tawdry details -- a short story about the Obamas' chef (have you noticed that our nation seems somewhat obsessed with what the First Family eats?) that included a recipe for a dish made with sweet potatoes freshly dug from the White House's new organic garden. It looked tasty so I tore it out and hit the road for home.

Three sweet potatoes by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog

The timing was excellent -- we've been receiving a rather high volume of sweet potatoes in our CSA produce box recently and I have been at somewhat of a loss for what to do with them. I'm ashamed to say that a number of them have even gotten moldy and ended up in the compost while I waited for inspiration to strike.

Sweet Potatoes & Winter Greens by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog

But the most recent batch of sweet potatoes occupied the place of honor in this tasty, seasonal recipe by Sam Kass, one of the team of nine current White House chefs. I have modified it slightly from the original version that appeared in the November issue of People magazine. I served it with roast chicken and wild rice.

Sweet Potatoes & Winter Greens
Serves 4


* 2 large sweet potatoes
* 2 bunches of chard or kale (or collard greens)
* 4 cloves of garlic
* juice of one half lemon
* 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* salt and pepper to taste
* pinch or red pepper flakes
* 2 Tbsps olive, peanut or canola oil


1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks (make them as uniform in size as you can.)

2. Heat one Tbsp of oil in the pan over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just brown on all sides and soft (about 12-15 minutes.) If the potatoes are still hard at the end of this time, you can add a few Tbsps of water or broth, put a cover on the pan and steam for 2-3 minutes and they should soften right up.

3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash the greens (but do not dry them.) Remove the ribs and cut the leaves into ribbons. Mince or press the garlic and set aside. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, add the cinnamon, gloves, salt and pepper and then set aside.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and sautee the garlic and the chili flakes for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the greens to the pan (in batches if needed) and stir often until they've cooked down significantly and are tender. Season the greens with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the potatoes, honey or maple syrup, and lemon juice with the greens, stir and serve.

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The Eatwell Project: a year of seasonal recipes -- logo by Eve Fox


arugulove said...

I'm really intrigued by the combo of flavors here. And I love any side that can double as a starch and a green vegetable.

kate said...

Don't wait for inspiration. Roast the sweet potatoes, peel and mash them plain, or just cube them. They freeze beautifully. Package them in 1 cup increments and they'll keep for months. Something so delicious and healthy shouldn't be feeding your compost pile.

colorchic said...

Oh my gosh that looks fabulous! Kale is my new favorite green this fall and adding sweet potatoes sounds like a perfectly healthy start to Thanksgiving!

Sarah said...

We made this the night my neighbor dropped off her People Magazine at my door (which she does weekly :)). It was delicious!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I just made this...added a can of chick peas to the kale as is was product was DELISH.

Anonymous said...

This was one of the best tasting things that has ever graced my mouth. It is definitely the best thing I've had all year! I can barely wait until the next time we make it!