Friday, October 2, 2015

Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions




It never fails, when colder weather approaches the need for satisfying comfort food increases. Being that the usual loaded baked potatoes are a major no for my dietary restrictions, I decided I would try out a new spin and on old classic. Sweet potatoes are always a favorite of mine, especially when baked. Wanting to play on the sweet and savory combination, I came up with this great recipe that uses breakfast sausage and caramelized onions to create a ridiculously yummy and filling meal.

Easy enough for most anyone, but you may want to brush up on your caramelizing technique if it isn't something you are used to doing. Give it a try and I promise you will not be disappointed. Everyone dove in and ate it to the very last bite...even when tummies started getting full. Yes, it was that good. I fully plan on making this a few times a month during the cold weather seasons.

To create this meal for your family you will need...

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 tube Jenny O Turkey Breakfast Sausage or Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage
2 celery sticks finely diced
1 apple finely diced
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 medium sweet onions (Vidalia if you can find them) cut in half then finely sliced
sea salt
coconut oil

Materials Needed
Heavy duty foil, baking sheet, large shallow pan with lid, medium sauce pan, spatula and fork.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

1. Make sure to clean your sweet potatoes as you will be keeping the skin on for this meal. Make a few punctures into the top of each potato and then wrap in a sheet of heavy duty foil. Place on baking sheet and bake for at least an hour and then check for fork tenderness once an hour passes.



2. While potatoes bake, add about a 1 tsp of oil to your large shallow pan and when melted put in your onions and reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Add a few dashes of sea salt, stir and then cover with a lid. The onions will ultimately be caramelized so it is important to keep the heat low and then stir occasionally with a good rubber spatula. If you are doing this right, the onions will reduce down drastically and turn a very light caramel color by the end. You do not want the onions to burn at any point or you will lose the sweetness of the onions and instead get more of a bitter flavor. Toward the end, vent the lid to help the residual liquid cook off and get the onions to a more creamy consistency.


3. As you work with the onions, in medium sauce pan add in a tsp of oil, the apple, the celery, and Craisins. Add a few dashes of sea salt, the ginger and cloves, and again cook on a lower heat until apples and celery are tender. At that point raise your heat to medium and add in your sausage meat. Cook thoroughly and make sure to drain any excess fat that is cooked off the meat. Once you have done so, set aside. (I actually place on top of the stove back towards the oven controls so the heat escaping will help keep the mixture warm while the potatoes bake)


4. When potatoes are fork tender, carefully remove from the foil and place each one on a plate. Split the potato in half and then add a few heaping spoons of the sausage mixture on top, then spread a layer of caramelized onions and serve. I baked some beer bread to go along with for a nice hearty meal on a cold rainy day, but for the gluten free group, this can obviously get skipped.