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Sweet Potatoes Anna with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Calling Quito! I've been to Ecuador twice in the past year and I am in love with their cuisine. Meeting great chefs like Fipo Moscoso, Milena Díaz García and Juan Sebastian Perez taught me how delicious Ecuadorian cuisine is. Varying with altitude, from the Amazon up to the mountains and down again to the sea, the food is delicious and diverse. Fruits and vegetables are fresh and abundant. I adore locro, a creamy potato soup found in the mountainous regions of Ecuador. We tried fanesca, a delicious Ecuadorian soup which is served at Easter. Each family has their own version of aji, a delicious hot sauce. There are over 4,000 kinds of potatoes grown in the Andean highlands. The variety of heirloom potatoes sold in the farmers markets is staggering. Sadly in the US our selection is a bit smaller! I like to use a blend of orange flesh garnet and jewel sweet potatoes. The pumpkin seed pesto is from Juan, adapted for the other flavors in this recipe. Serve these sweet potatoes with a simple green salad for a perfect fall dinner.

Sweet Potatoes Anna with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Preheat the oven to 400˚

Make the compound nut butter – Place the pumpkin seeds in a food processor and blend until creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the refined coconut oil and blend until mixed for another minute. Add the minced garlic, shallot, salt and aji amarillo chile and pulse until combined. The nut butter will be very soft at this stage.

Make the pumpkin seed pesto – Place the pumpkin seeds, garlic, cilantro and parsley in a food processor and process until blended but still chunky. While the processor is turned on stream in the avocado and olive oils.Pour into a small serving bowl.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato slices with the ¼ cup of the soft compound nut butter and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.If necessary, add a bit more nut butter at a time and mix until evenly coated. Reserve the extra compound nut butter for another use.

In a heavy 10.5″ non stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp refined coconut oil over low heat until the oil is melted. Carefully place one potato slice in the center of the skillet, then quickly add more slices around it, overlapping them to make a concentric circular patter to the edge of the skillet. This will be the top layer of the Sweet Potatoes Anna when serving. Repeat layers until you have used all the sweet potatoes. Cover the sweet potatoes with a piece of foil and then weight down with a porcelain dish, pressing evenly. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium-low heat, rotating the pan often for even browning. 

Turn off the heat, cover the skillet with a large plate and invert the potatoes onto the plate. Carefully slide the potatoes back into the skillet. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, again pressing the potatoes down with the foil and porcelain dish. Turn off the heat, remove the foil and porcelain dish. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be crisp and golden brown. Let the sweet potatoes rest for 5 minutes, then slide onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve with a spoonful of the pumpkin seed pesto. Garnish with a dusting of apple cider vinegar powder and a dollop of non dairy sour cream, if desired.

serves 8

COMPOUND NUT BUTTER

  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 tbsp refined coconut oil 
  • ¼ cup shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp aji amarillo chile powder

SWEET POTATOES

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced into very thin slices
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil
  • pink Himalayan sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

PUMPKIN SEED PESTO 

  • ¾ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

GARNISHES optional 

  • Toffutti® Better Than Sour Cream
  • Apple Cider vinegar powder