Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and other good-for-you stuff like fiber, making a great excuse to eat sweet potato pie.

Kidding aside, sweet potatoes are just as good as, if not better than, traditional baking potatoes in savory applications. A great one-bowl meal for winter is loaded baked potato, why not use sweet potatoes?

A lower oven temperature keeps the skin from falling apart, allowing you to split the potato in half and load it up. But it also takes twice as long for the potatoes to cook.

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Topping that potato with sauteed kale not only looks stunning, the kale is a perfect complement to the sweet "meaty" potato.

To maintain the savory flavor, roast garlic and make it into a paste to flavor the potato, folding in just a touch of butter and a pinch of sage. Then scoop out half of the potato, mix it all together, add half the cheese and put it back into the shells, like you would a twice-baked potato. The recipe can be made in advance and re-heated later.

It's also easily adapted. Toasted pumpkin seeds add a welcome crunch and you can add leftover or rotisserie chicken to round out your meal. If you don't like kale, saute spinach instead. And if you don't like fontina or Gruyere, Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella work just fine.

Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

Garlic ingredients:

•3 heads garlic

•Olive oil

•Kosher salt

•2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sweet potato ingredients:

•4 large sweet potatoes

•Olive oil

•2 tablespoons unsalted

•butter, at room temperature

•Pinch of dried sage

•Kosher salt

•1 large shallot, chopped

•1 bunch chopped kale

•1/2 cup grated fontina cheese

•Ground black pepper, to taste

•1/2 to 1 cup shredded Gruyere

•3 tablespoons toasted

•pumpkin seeds (optional)

•Roasted chicken (optional)


Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the outer layer of papery skin from garlic. Slice off pointy tops of each. Place each head of garlic, cut side up, on a square of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Wrap the foil loosely up and over the garlic and roast for 1 hour, or until golden-brown and soft. Let cool.

Once garlic has cooled, remove cloves from their skins. In a small food processor, combine the garlic cloves and butter, then pulse until chopped and combined. Refrige-rate until needed.

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, then rub them with oil. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, let garlic come to room temperature while the potatoes roast. Once warm, mix in butter, sage and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

About 15 minutes before the potatoes have finished, finely chop the shallot. In a medium saute pan over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the kale and saute for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until tender. Set aside.

Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on. Halve the potatoes and scoop out some flesh from each, leaving a thick layer of sweet potato within the skin so it can stand on its own.

Mash the sweet potato, roasted garlic and sage mixture with fontina cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the filling between potato shells. Top with shredded cheese and sauteed kale.

Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and chicken, if desired.

Servings: 8


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