26 February 2014

Barbecue White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This past weekend the hubs and I ate our way through Savannah, Georgia...and what an scrumptious frenzy it was.  The abundance of assorted cornbreads, freshly caught seafood, buttery grits and local liquors was enough to make a gal think about calling off another week of work and just keep eating.  Needless to say, this is not that rich Southern food.  After an overabundance of bacon, butter and other animal bi-products, the hubs and I needed reprieve from their richness.  So this week we're enjoying some of our healthy basics - delicious, nutritious and in this instance meatless.

Now there's nothing wrong with succulent and rich foods....in moderation.  But there's also nothing wrong with this awesome little one-meal spud....in fact, there's just about everything right.  Its flavor profile is stolen directly from the ever-popular barbecue chicken pizza, but with many obviously and substantial changes.  It's been twisted around into a hot little pocket of vegetarian goodness, healthy enough to please the nutritiously conscious yet hearty enough to satisfy the ridiculously hungry (including those of you who fall into both categories...like moi).

We start out with the quintessential baked sweet potato - sweet and tender, packed with vitamins, magnesium and iron, they are considered one of the world's healthiest foods for a very good reason.  Next we have Great Northern beans, a wonderfully mild and versatile legume that is high in protein and absolutely fabulous with pretty much any and everything...like barbecue sauce!  Now the hubs and I are crazy devotees to Sweet Baby Ray's, but understand that it's tough to stray from Stubbs/Masterpiece/Grannie's original recipe/insert favorite here.  Whatever your saucy preference, you will absolutely love the way in which the sweetness of the spud and sauce mingle together.  I diiiie.

Perhaps my favorite part of a barbecue pizza is the garnishes.  Cilantro, red onion and cumin are the trusty little side kicks that make the sauce that much better.  Plus, they taste amazing and are relatively cheap ingredients.  As are the beans and potatoes, meaning this is an all around inexpensive dinner.  Penny pinchers rejoice!

PS - can we pause to stop and look at this stuffed potato?  I think I could cry with happiness.  

If you like sweet potatoes, barbecue sauce, chicken pizzas or hot little mounds of deliciousness, this one is for you.  If you don't like any of those things....I don't even know what to say to that.

Barbecue White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (2 servings)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 c cooked white beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • dash cayenne (optional)
  • 2 tbs barbecue sauce, divided
  • 2 tbs red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbs cilantro, divided
  • 2 tbs barbecue sauce, divided
  • salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and position two racks in the lower third of the oven.  Wash the sweet potatoes well and pierce each several times with a fork.  When the oven is hot, set directly on the higher rack (you can place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings, if desired).  Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.

When the potatoes have about 10 minutes left, prepare your beans.  Place in a small pot and season with the cumin, garlic powder and cayenne.  Stir together well, then turn the heat onto medium-low.  Heat slowly, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

In a ramekin or small bowl, combine one tablespoon of the barbecue sauce with about a teaspoon of water.  Mix until a smooth sauce is formed, adding additional water a half teaspoon at a time until you reach a good drizzling consistency.  Set aside.

Combine the red onion, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro and 1 tablespoon of the barbecue sauce in a small bowl.  When the beans are hot, add to the bowl and stir until well combined.  

When a knife can be inserted into the center of the potatoes without resistance, remove from the oven and place each on a plate.  Carefully cut a slit down the center of the potato and gently open by pinching each end or separating with two forks.  Scoop half of the white bean mixture into each potato, letting the extra spill over the edges.  Garnish with the remaining cilantro and drizzle with the barbecue sauce.  Serve hot with a side salad or your favorite roasted veggie.  

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