Inspiration for this dish comes from an old Jewish holiday-food staple called tzimmes. My grandmother's version featured sweet potatoes baked with dried fruits and apple juice in a covered casserole. Some people love it, but I always found it cloyingly sweet and heavy on the dried fruit.
Here, the sweet potatoes are baked and then combined with a moist and savory mixture of sauteed onions, apples and curry. Many varieties and sizes of sweet potatoes are available. I tend to go for the red garnets, but it's really up to you and what's available. I like to use sweet curry powder from Penzeys.
Make Ahead: The dish can be made 1 day in advance. To reheat, use 10-minute increments in the microwave on HIGH or transfer the sweet potatoes to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes until heated through.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced (1/2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder, or to taste (see headnote)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1 (4 ounces) firm, sweet apple, such as Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Wash the potatoes and prick some holes or slits in the skins, then place them on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until juices run out of the slits and the potatoes are soft all the way through; the oven time will depend on the size of the potatoes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then discard the skins and place the flesh of the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl.
While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Add the curry powder, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the salt; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then increase the heat to medium and add the apple. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so and adjusting the heat so the onion does not burn, until the apple is tender. Remove from the heat.
Use the back of a large serving fork to mash the sweet potatoes in the bowl. Add the curried-apple-onion mixture, stirring thoroughly to combine. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.