I love sweet potatoes. Their vibrant orange color, super-sweet flesh, and creamy texture. Yum. I have been known to eat them for breakfast, actually.
Now, one of the best ways to enjoy a sweet potato, in my mind, is also the simplest way: bake a hefty one on 400 F for two hours or so, until the sugar is seeping out and carmelizing on the pan in a thick, molasses-colored syrup, and a knife will slice through the potato like butter. Oh, delicious!
But others are not so impressed simply by a huge hunk of sweet potato on their plate, so I am continuously devising new ways to serve them up. That way I can get my fix in a form that actually looks like an entree. This recipe is one of my favorites. I think it’s a great main dish, particularly with a crisp, green salad, but it would also be a lovely side.
We sat down for this tonight, and gushed over the bounty from our garden: the onions, garlic, potatoes, and kale came from our very own plot of dirt. I paired them with green beans from our backyard, too, and they went very well together. Whether or not you have a garden, this is a nice fall dish because all of the ingredients should be in season at the same time.
A note on sweet potatoes: Many varieties of sweet potatoes exist. In most U.S. stores, two types are commonly sold. The first, a less-sweet tuber with light brown skin and a cream-colored flesh, are usually correctly labeled as sweet potatoes. The other type, which I prefer, have terra-cotta skin and sugary sweet, pumpkin-colored interiors. However, they are often mislabeled as yams, even though they are just a different variety of sweet potato.
Speed it up: Although it would no longer work as a main dish, you could easily leave out the mushrooms, onions (but not the garlic!), and/or the kale. Just sautee the garlic for a minute, then add in the sage, salt, potatoes, and sweet potatoes and proceed from that step.
Dress it up: I love the idea of serving this near Halloween, because of the bright-orange hue of the sweet potatoes. I think it would be particularly fun to serve it inside a pumpkin shell. Imagine how cute it would be to bake mini pumpkins, then scoop out the soft flesh (which could be saved for later—maybe a pumpkin pie!) and fill each with a few large spoonfuls of this dish. I would then sprinkle the feta on top of the pumpkin openings and place under the broiler until the cheese bubbled.
Meat Lovers Option: Add some precooked bacon to part of the pan or serve alongside chicken, which you could bake while preparing and then baking this dish.
Special Diets and Allergies: Vegan and dairy-free, if the cheese is omitted. Nut free. Wheat free.
Crispy Sweet Potato & Kale Skillet
Serves 2-3 as a main dish
This lovey skillet is bursting with flavors and bright, fall colors. The cubes of sweet potato and potato develop a garlicky crust, complimented by the kale, which becomes crisp and salty. The mellow sage and meaty mushrooms round out the dish, creating a satisfying meal. The strength of broilers varies by oven, so make sure to keep a sharp eye on the dish while it’s under the broiler. The sweet potato and potato chunks will quickly go from perfectly brown to burnt.
5 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5-8 button mushrooms, chopped
2 C curly kale, washed and chopped
4-5 large garlic cloves, smashed in a garlic press
1/2 t salt (or more to taste)
1 t dried sage
3-4 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/2″ chunks
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1/2″ chunks
1/4 – 1/2 C feta cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Heat olive oil in a small cast-iron skillet (8″ or 9″ in diameter) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and mushrooms and sautee until the onion is tender and the mushrooms are nicely browned and crispy on the edges—not soggy.
- Add the kale and sautee another 1 to 2 minutes, until the kale starts to wilt. Add the garlic, salt, and sage, and sautee another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to let off its aroma, but not so long that it begins to brown and burn.
- Add the sweet potato and potato chunks, stir to coat in the oil. Turn the heat to medium and cover with foil. Cook for five minutes, then stir again. Press the ingredients down into the pan, making sure they are well pressed together. Cover with the foil again, and cook another three minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Turn on the broiler, remove the foil, and set the pan about 6 inches from the flame (or the burner if the oven is electric). Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes and sweet potatoes are crisp and golden. Turn off the broiler, sprinkle the top of the dish with the feta cheese, and re-cover it with the foil. Leave in the hot oven for 5 minutes or so, while you get the rest of the meal on the table, until the cheese is melted.