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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the spice of hot HOT

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Apparently, the average American eats fewer sweet potatoes in a year than I do in the average week or two....

As the frigidity continued today (a balmy -28C windchill this morning), I decided dinner needed to be blisteringly, searingly hot. Something to really warm a person up.

Despite their winter appeal (to me at least), sweet potatoes are actually a tropical crop - easy to grow, less environmental impact than many other crops, and a staple in places like Burundi, where their individual annual consumption is twice my body weight. And I tell ya, that's a lot of sweet potatoes.

And I learned my lesson last time I roasted 'em....poking sweet potatoes and roasting them in your oven leads to caramelized, burnt potato gunk on the bottom of said oven. This time I was smarter....I didn't poke them at all. :) And, contrary to what I thought they might explosions. Nice. Aside from a bit of iris/cayenne interaction, I made it through unscathed. Oh, and chipotle peppers are spicy. I had no idea (never used them before). But, word to the wise, these guys pack a punch. Use sparingly, but enjoy thoroughly.

As decent as last night's dinner was, tonight's dinner totally kicked its ass. This was pure, spicy, pseudo-mexican perfection. Yum. It was sweet, it was spicy, it was acidic, had some crunch, creaminess.....everything a fabulous dinner ought to have.

Even better - it was also REALLY good for me. Another vegetarian success! Hubs and I have really been making an effort to eat less meat and more legumes.....and to work on eating more 'superfood''s working out really well.

The food is amazing, healthy, cheaper and flavourful. I don't know if I ever would have envisioned sweet potatoes in a burrito, but they totally rock.

I took a ton of inspiration from this recipe. I've made it as written before, but I like it a lot better with my own modifications. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad as is, but it rocks with a few tweaks. One of the biggest changes I make is to use small whole wheat tortillas.....I love the idea of a big old burrito....but if you look at the calories, a big tortilla has like 180 calories. And that's before you put anything in it. So eat two of those, and you're guaranteed like a 700-800 calorie dinner. The small tortillas have only 90 calories, so you can happily munch on a couple of 'em. :)

So..........with no further ado.........I give you....

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

Bean Mixture:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Sweet Potato Mixture
4 medium sweet potatoes, cooked (I roasted them at 400F while I did yesterday's could nuke them or boil them!)
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 c fresh coriander

12 (7 inch) whole wheat tortillas (warm them up if they are too hard to roll)
4 ounces shredded old Cheddar cheese
1-2 ounces grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans and water, and heat until warm. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Let this bubble away while you get the sweet potatoes ready.
"Refried" Black Beans

2. Peel the potatoes (if you hadn't done so already) and place them in a large bowl. Mash away. Chop up the chipotle peppers (don't touch your eyes.....ouch!) and add them to the potatoes. It's good if some adobo sauce stays on them. Add the coriander and combine it all together.
Chipotle!  with sweet potatoes

3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas. Roll the tortillas up (don't fold them, because you lose valuable stuffing's all about the stuffing!) Place them on a greased baking sheet (or a silpat....can you tell I'm impressed/obsessed with mine?)
Tasty filling

4. Top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve, topped with salsa and/or sour cream. I used spicy red salsa, mild green tomatillo salsa and light sour cream.

can't wait to dig in

And MAN was it good. Very spicy (watch those chipotles!) but awesome. I LOVED how the tortillas crisped was better than take-out.

I know it's totally not authentic.....but contrary to a lot of the folks on chowhound, I totally don't care. I'm all about enjoyment, and this rocked. SO satisfying. I need to make these little suckers more often.

Thanks for reading! :)


Freya said...

Wow, these look Amazing! Unfortunately we can't get chipotles in a tin over here in Britain but I do have some dried ones I could rehydrate. My husband loves bean burritos (being an ex-pat) so I might just give these a try!
Great site by the way!

Anonymous said...

Sweet potato in a burrito? You have my attention - I'm definitely going to give this a try!

Brilynn said...

There's a place in Toronto called Big Fat Burrito that does a really good sweet potato burrito.
Thanks for adding me to your links! :)

Anonymous said...

ooo I love how this looks!! Will definitely add to my list of 'must-tries'. Might have to use some chicken too, because hubs is not getting on the vegetarian wagon, and he's too heavy for me to lift. :p Slowly but steadily.. I'll get him on. ;)

Did you use the whole can of chilpotles? I hope I can find it in my supermarket - I'm still looking for diced tomatoes with green chilies in a can, and i can't find it!! :(

Anonymous said...

where did you buy the chipotles? These sound so good, i want to make them on the weekend!

kattyb from wedding bells

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

freya - rather than chipotles in a tin, you could probably get a similar effect with a smokey bbq sauce (or basically, something that is smokey tasting). The peppers at the heat, and the remnants of adobo add the smoke.

shawnda - they are so good. Especially right out of the oven, when still crispy. Yum.

brilynn - I'm actually in Ottawa, but good to know! :) Thanks!

lesley - just don't tell him it's vegetarian. It's a trick I've used relatively often. Hubs is slowly migrating from m-p-v type eating to random whateverness (like me). I just used 3 would be quite hot if you used a whole can. I took what was left in my can and froze it in a ziploc, flattened out, so I'll be able to break little pieces off when I need them. Almost-martha like for me...

kattyb - not sure where you live, but I found them at Price Chopper in Bells Corners. I'm constantly impressed by the array of 'weird' things I can find there, considering it's a discount store. A latin american market would carry them too.

Couz said...

I am quickly becoming a HUGE fan. :-)

And this post was perfectly timed, seeing as how I actually have ALL of the ingredients on hand.

I wish I'd seen this before dinner, but my spur-of-the-moment black bean, butternut squash and spinach with whole-wheat penne was nice on a cold winter's night. I'm making the burritos tomorrow!

And now I want a Silpat sheet.

Melting Wok said...

oh goddd, this looks too good !! :) I love the variation of using sweet potatoes like you did, thanks for sharing & am sure this will rock your Sunday Super bowl guests *grins* :)

Alison said...

This dish is going straight to the top of my "must-make" list once we move into our new house next week. Thanks for the inspiration - I'm always looking for new and funky veg dishes that use superfoods!

Also, good to fnd another Ottawa foodblogger! My little corner of the food porn web is at if you're interested. Have a good one!

Unknown said...

I am such a foodie - and never even thought about putting sweet potatoes in a burrito. This sounds so good, I'm making it for dinner on Sunday. I'll let you know how it goes!

Couz said...

This was AMAZING. And thank you for helping me make inroads into convincing my husband that going vegetarian wouldn't be a fate worse than death.

I will definitely be eating more sweet potatoes in the future. Yummy winter food.

Anonymous said...

I make a similar version of this recipe and Loooooove it. My former colleagues at an unnamed federal department, used to complain that it smelled like puke in the microwave. I don't care what they say. This recipe is awesome. http

Anonymous said...

Hey there!

I'm Couz's lil' sistah...she suggested it to me, I experimented with it on my friends. Everyone *loved* it, and I'm cooking it again right now for others!

Great, great recipe. And it can feed a frickin' army, they're so filling!

love your site...

Lil' Couz

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you see comments on your old posts but in case you do, I wanted to let you know this burrito is AWESOME!!! We finally made this on the weekend & it's beyond yummy. I think I will be making this often!

~ Ginelle (from WB)

test it comm said...

This sounds really good! A spicey bean burrito with sweet potatoes. What a combination. I have some chipotle peppers left over and I was wondering how I would use them.

Deirdre Reid said...

2 cups of water seems like a lot. I've got the beans simmering and they're way too liquidy for burritos. What size cans of beans did you use?

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