|For the sweet potatoes|
|For the avocado cilantro crema|
|1 ⅓ tbsp|
|For the filling|
|3 ½ oz|
For the sweet potatoes
Preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the sweet potatoes, and with a fork poke several holes into each potato. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45–75 minutes (timing depends on the size), until the flesh is tender and you can easily slide a knife through the center. After baking, let the potatoes cool for 5–10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the avocado cilantro crema (step 2) and the filling for the sweet potatoes (step 4).
For the avocado cilantro crema
Peel the garlic. Halve the avocado, remove the pit, and scoop out the pulp. In a food processor, process the cilantro and garlic until minced.
Add the avocado, lime juice, water, and desired amount of salt and process until mostly smooth. There might be small bits of cilantro, but this is okay.
For the filling
Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and black beans and cook for another minute or two. Add the salt, pepper, and lime juice and stir again to combine.
For a recipe that makes 2 servings (entrees), the author uses 1 can (425 g) black beans or 250 grams cooked black beans. For instructions on cooking the beans yourself, see “Alternate preparation.”
Assembling the sweet potatoes
Slice each potato in half lengthwise. With a knife, score the flesh in a crisscross pattern. Gently mash the flesh with a fork to fluff. Sprinkle on some sea salt and pepper to season.
Layer the avocado crema and black beans by the spoonful across each potato half. Garnish each with green onion, a pinch of chili powder and cumin, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
These loaded sweet potatoes with an avocado cilantro crema and black beans are easy to prepare and fun to make with several combinations to choose from.
Serving: According to the author, the ingredients we have chosen for 2 servings correspond to 2 servings (entrees) or 4 side dishes.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are not actually potatoes. While they grow as underground tubers, in contrast to regular potatoes they are not part of the nightshade family. Sweet potato leaves are edible and are a food staple in many tropical countries. They have a high water content and as such can’t be stored for long periods of time like regular potatoes. However, careful handling (e.g., avoiding bruises) can extend the storage life. Since certain varieties contain an appreciable amount of hydrogen cyanide, you should carefully select the type of sweet potato you will be using. A large variety of both sweet and savory dishes can be prepared using sweet potatoes. These tubers are available in a range of colors, including yellow with red skin, orange-red with reddish-brown skin, and white with light-colored skin.
Black beans: Black beans, as with other bean varieties, are in the legume family, and they are particularly popular in Mexican cuisine. The beans are small, round, and shiny black. They have a slightly sweet taste and are very aromatic. Black beans contain high amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. If you prepare black beans yourself, you should note that, unlike kidney beans, they are not as soft and therefore require longer cooking times. After cooking, however, the white flesh is soft and has a floury consistency.
Cilantro (fresh coriander): There is a wide range of opinions regarding the flavor of cilantro. Some people react to its intensive, slightly soapy aroma with symptoms ranging from aversion to nausea. According to Swiss statistics, 15 % of the allergic population reacts to cilantro. If you prefer, it is fine to simply omit this ingredient. You should realize, however, that it is the cilantro that gives this dish its exotic taste. There is no alternative that has a similar flavor. Flat-leaf parsley may look like cilantro, but it has a completely different flavor.
Keep avocados from turning brown: The process of oxidation causes avocados to turn brown quickly after they are exposed to air. You can prevent this by drizzling lemon or lime juice on top directly after slicing. The ascorbic acid contained in citrus fruits acts as an antioxidant, which prevents the avocado from turning brown.
Storing avocados: Avocados are harvested before they are ripe. They ripen best if you place them next to apples (or put them together in a paper bag) and store at room temperature. The apples release ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process.
Canning extra beans: If you have leftover black beans, you can freeze them for a later use (such as for the Black Bean Rancheros in the same cookbook).
Potato and cream alternatives: Instead of sweet potatoes, you can use russet potatoes, and instead of the Avocado Cilantro Crema, you can try out the All-Purpose Cheese Sauce (recipe found in the same cookbook or on our website by following the link).
Preparing beans yourself: If you have enough time or are able to plan in advance, it is best to prepare the black beans yourself. This is a better option than using canned beans.
– Directions: Soak beans in cold water for at least 4 hours, if possible, for 8 hours or overnight. The longer you soak the beans, the better the results will be since soaking makes the beans softer, decreases the cooking time, and reduces the substances that cause gas and bloating. After soaking, rinse the beans and heat in water (approx. 10 times as much water). Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to low. Cook covered for 60–90 minutes, depending on the desired consistency, and make sure that there is enough water to cover the beans. If you want to salt the beans, you should only do this after they are cooked.
Tips from Angela Liddon:
– Make it kid-friendly: Top the potatoes with chopped avocado instead of the avocado cilantro crema.
– Green salad, rice, and/or corn on the cob make perfect side dishes for this cozy dish, but it’s satisfying all on ist own too.
– If you’re in a real rush to get dinner on the table, feel free to chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes and roast them at 200 °C (400 °F) for 20 to 35 minutes, flipping once halfway through, and then top them with the fixings.