The inspiration for this somewhat ad hoc meal was the day I spent combing through all of Smitten Kitchen’s archives (too addicting). There was a recipe for sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese that appealed to me for all these reasons: 1. sweet potatoes 2: goat cheese 3: easy to make 4: looks pretty 5: goat cheese is the best 6: I wish I owned a goat. I basically followed the recipe, except for lack of measuring and I used walnuts instead of pecans because pecans seemed unconscionably expensive and, also, I like walnuts better. We didn’t have red wine vinegar, so I used tarragon vinegar, which I thought was perfectly fine.
Cooking the sweet potatoes was easy — our pans are so well seasoned that I didn’t even grease the one I used and it was extremely exciting when sugar started oozing out of the potatoes because I did not expect that to happen. Also, I cooked up some israeli cous cous and sausage because I was concerned that I was going to leave my guests (family) hungry. Lucas and I had to keep up our energy for badminton class!
Tonight’s meal was inspired by a staple from the restaurant Sneakers’ (Winooski, Vermont) menu. The dish is sweet potato waffles and chicken and has been a source of inspiration on many cold college Sundays. The enthralling part of this meal is the unreal flavor that is imparted from the juxtaposition of culinary elements that don’t typically frequent the same social circles. As the sweet potato waffles soften beneath the chicken gravy you begin to realize how brilliant this meal really is, but enough praise for Sneakers, below I will describe how I attempted this dish.
After some searching on the web of internets I came across a few suitable recipes and by borrowing the best points from each I attempted to turn mediocre into masterpiece. The waffles required the following ingredients.
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
4 tspbaking powder
1 tsp spoon sage
3 eggs separated
½ cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
pinch of cream of tarter
2 medium sweet potatoes (chopped up, boiled until soft, mashed)
Combine the dry ingredients excluding the cream of tarter in a large bowl with a whisk. In a separate boil beat together the milk, oil, egg yolks and sweet potatoes. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry without over mixing. Finally, beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until frothy and fold into the dough.
Follow directions on your typical waffle maker and cook waffles until browned on the outside.
The gravy I choose relies on the flavor of caramelized onions, make this ahead of time by cooking one large onion thinly sliced into rounds with olive oil over medium heat for roughly 40 minutes, if is taking too long or you want a sweeter flavor sprinkle some brown sugar on the onions to expedite the process. For the gravy you will also need the following;
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
Melt the butter and slowly whisk in the flour to create a roux. Then slowly add small amounts of liquid starting with the milk and alternating between each. Allow for the gravy to thicken and then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and finally the caramelized onions.
While stirring the sauce you should be simultaneously cooking the chicken. While this meal would traditionally be served with fried chicken I simply cooked it in olive oil in a skillet. You should dredge roughly a pound of chicken tenders in flour with paprika to taste and once the skilled is hot cook until tender and brown on the outsides.
Now all that remains is putting the pieces together which entails placing two tenders on each waffle and topping with sauce, I also served peas alongside which complemented the dish excellently.