Chipotle-Lime “Sweet Potatoes”

Chipotle-Lime Sweet Potatoes
Chipotle-Lime “Sweet Potatoes”

OK, it’s officially close to Thanksgiving now that I have bought 2 sweet potatoes to add to my fresh pumpkin dish that has become a holiday tradition in my house:  Chipotle-Lime “Sweet Potatoes”.  I clipped a high-carb sweet potato recipe out of the Houston Post many years ago, but I low-carbed it by using fresh pumpkin (the whole variety) so that I can now have it without breaking the “carb bank”.  I have personally never been very fond of sweet potatoes as a veggie side, but ever since finding this recipe, I just love them!  I bake this recipe OFTEN, and with a wide variety of meats and seafood!

This is NOT your granny’s sweet potatoes!  Chipotle peppers are highly smoked jalapenos and taste nothing like green jalapeno peppers, in my opinion.  They, in combination with the lime zest, add a most unique “twist” to a popular vegetable more commonly seasoned with orange zest.  My brother, who was an Executive Chef at Top of the Mark in San Francisco at one time, just raved about this dish when I served it to him!  He went on to serve it often to dinner guests  in his own home over the years.  When I can’t get fresh pumpkin, I have been known to use butternut squash in this recipe in a pinch, but in all honesty, it’s not quite as good as the fresh pumpkin.  I tried it one time using acorn squash, and it was a “different animal” altogether, and not one I was terribly fond of.

I find this dish particularly tasty with baked, fried or grilled seafood, grilled meat, especially wild game, Texas-style BBQ, baked ham and of course that Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey or duck.  The flavor combination of lime, smoky chipotles and maple extract (¼ c. very high carb packed brown sugar in the original recipe) is a real winner!  The color of the final dish is more golden than orange as it is with all potatoes, thus my addition of red food coloring to correct color aesthetics.

Absolutely DO NOT SUBSTITUTE CANNED PUMPKIN or you are going to be extremely disappointed.  Just not the same dish.  Once you reach the starchy vegetable rung of the OWL Phase of Atkins and can afford a few more carbs,  I would recommend using just 1½ lb. pumpkin and adding 1 lb. cooked, mashed sweet potato (2 medium) for both flavor, color and a much creamier, tastier final dish. You will of course need to adjust nutritional info if you make that change as my numbers are for pumpkin only.

This dish does not freeze well.  As a general rule, cooked pumpkin flesh does not freeze well at all when used as a vegetable side dish.  Its water separates out in the bottom of your baking pan upon thawing the made-ahead dish for final heating/serving.  This doesn’t happen with muffins, cookies and cakes, but in invariably does with veggie sweet potato recipes.  That really ruins the final dish for me.  No matter how I try to drain that water off, it just keeps bleeding out more water it seems!  Totally spoils it for me, so I never, EVER freeze pumpkin.

This recipe appears in Vol. 1 of Jennifer Eloff’s latest cookbook series, LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.   I hope you’ll click the link to their Facebook page and take a look at a sampling of the recipes that await you in this now 10-volume set.  Any low-carb cook would be proud to serve the recipes shared by these very talented cook, ……….including famous George Stella!  You can order the entire set or individual volumes at Amazon or here:  http://amongfriends.us/order.php

INGREDIENTS:

2½ lb. cooked fresh pumpkin (DO NOT USE CANNED PUMPKIN.  It’s horrible in this!)

½ c. heavy cream

4 T. butter

¼ tsp. salt

2 T. fresh lime juice

zest of 1 large lime (2 if they are small)

½ c. granular Splenda

1 tsp. maple extract (or 2 T. sugar-free maple syrup)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1-2 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce) seeded, rinsed & mashed

few drops red food coloring to achieve orange color of sweet potatoes (optional)

VARIATION:  For very special occasions and holidays, I sometimes reduce the fresh pumpkin in these and add 2 small, “real” sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed for a more authentic recipe that comes even closer to the original recipe. 

DIRECTIONS:  Remove stem and cut a small 4-4½ lb. pumpkin in half.  Remove seeds (you can roast them for snacks) and turn cut side down into baking pan.  Fill pan with 1″ water and bake pumpkin at 350º until tender when fork is stuck into it (about 45 minutes).  Remove and cool enough to handle.  Scoop/scrape  the pumpkin flesh out of skin/shell and weigh. Should yield about 2-2½ lb. flesh.  (freeze any overage for future use).  Cool a bit before whipping the pumpkin with an electric mixer, blender or food processor to get it as smooth as possible.  Add all remaining ingredients except chipotle peppers.

For the holidays or very special occasions, I will bake 2 medium sweet potatoes, scoop out flesh, mash and add for richer flavor, but this ups the carbs quite a bit.  When I do this, I reduce the pumpkin by the volume of sweet potato I sub in.  I have not included any sweet potatoes in the numbers below.

These little chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos) are very HOT, so special handling is recommended.  Either wear plastic gloves (homemade  “sandwich bag gloves” will do) or be sure you wash your hands well after handling.  Take 1 chipotle pepper (about 1½” long) out of the can.  Rinse, and remove seeds and ribs with a knife.  Finely mash wall flesh into a puree on a flat wooden board or paper plate.  Add to pumpkin mixture, stir well and taste to see if this is hot enough for you.  You don’t want to get this dish too hot.  A little tingle on the tongue is what you’re looking for.

If you want even more smoky taste or a hotter dish, carefully repeat, adding just ½ pepper at a time, re-tasting after each addition.   If you add pepper in stages like this, you won’t ever ruin the whole batch getting it too hot (I did one time).  Never forget that not everyone at your dinner table or social occasion will like things as hot as others.

Stir well and pour into buttered ceramic/glass baking dish.  Sprinkle with a dash more cinnamon and bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Serves 8, each serving contains: (using all pumpkin)

114 cals, 7.6g fat, 12g carbs, 4g fiber, 8g net carbs, 2g protein, 121 mg. sodium

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