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Cumin Scented Sweet Potatoes & Wild Rice


We have had an abundance of sweet potatoes this winter.  I’m okay with this.  I love sweet potatoes.

Usually, we poke them with a fork, and throw them in the microwave until they are ‘baked’ and cut a cross in the top, pinch the sides, mush up a bit with a fork and then top with salt, a pat of butter, and maybe some chives or other fresh herbs.  Nothing more is necessary.  I decided to mix things up a bit.

Dice the sweet potato into ½ inch cubes.   A simple way to get an (almost) perfect dice is to start with peeled potatoes, slice them lengthwise, then lay flat to cut strips.  Rotate 90º, and cut into small cubes.

Next, slice up some onions.  Now, usually, I’m a believer in cutting ingredients in a dish into similar sizes – this can be important for cooking times, texturally important and visually important as well.  Except, there are always exceptions.  I sliced the onions (rather than a dice) for all of the same reasons mentioned above.  With such a simple recipe…the difference in texture and variety of size does more for the dish.

Toss it all in a sauté pan with a fat of your choosing (bacon fat, olive oil, butter…it’s up to you) and shake to coat.  You want the sweet potato to brown, and then onion to soften so keep the heat on medium.  If it’s browning too much, but the veggies are not tender, add a little broth or water to help steam and let it evaporate to bring back some of the caramelized goodness!

Season well with salt and pepper.  Now it’s time for the cumin, one of my all time favorite spices.  Sprinkle in up to a teaspoon of ground cumin…the aroma should soon fill your kitchen.  I added a twinge of oregano as well.

In the meantime, or the day before, or whenever.  Cook up some wild rice.  I’m lucky enough to have a Minnesota source for real wild rice…and let me tell you…it is worth the extra effort and the extra cost to find the real, true WILD rice.  The wild rice grain comes from a long-stemmed grass that grows in shallow lake waters or slow-moving streams and was/is typically harvested by Native Americans in canoes by bending the stocks over an open canoe and whacking the grass to knock the grain out.  It can take close to an hour to cook, and if added to a soup will continue to soak up liquid…the next day, you might look in the fridge for leftovers, and be confused when instead you find a thick and hearty stew.  Not to worry, a little stock or milk will thin it right down.  Soaking up liquid isn’t an issue for this dish, but you will want to make sure that you have cooked the rice to your liking.  I like it a little toothy still.

Throw it all in one big bowl together…and mix well.  Make sure to taste for seasoning again…adding all that rice will require some additional salt and pepper, and maybe a bit more cumin.

This was one of many dishes (our contribution to a potluck) that we enjoyed alongside a wild-shot, home-smoked and roasted goose.  Delicious all around!

Bon Appétit!

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