In keeping with my Holiday Recipe Posts I want to share the best sweet potato recipe I have EVER had. I clipped a high-carb recipe out of the Houston Post many years ago, but I have low-carbed it so that I can now have this heavenly dish without breaking my daily carb bank. I have personally never been very fond of sweet potatoes, unless baked into pies, cakes and muffins. But ever since finding this recipe, I just love them! Wouldn’t even consider a Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration without these. It’s so good, I make this recipe year-round now.
These are certainly 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 “smokey twist” to an ever-popular vegetable most commonly seasoned with orange rather than with lime.
My late brother was an Executive Chef at Top of the Mark in San Francisco for a number of years and when I served these to him one Christmas, he just raved on and on! He went on to serve these often to his own dinner guests and said he always got the same positive reaction. In substituting freshly baked pumpkin for sweet potatoes, you tremendously lower the carb count per serving without changing the flavor much at all actually. This time of year, small pie pumpkins are so plentiful, but if you can’t get fresh pumpkin, for whatever reasons, I recommend substituting in butternut squash. Not quite as good, but fairly close I think. Whatever you do, DO NOT use acorn squash (which tasted awful in these). Also, do not use canned pumpkin, which just doesn’t look too good visually or taste the same for some reason. Been there; done that. You simply will not end up with the same dish.
I find this dish is particularly tasty with baked, fried or grilled seafood, grilled meat, especially wild game, BBQ, baked ham and of course Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey. The flavor combination here is a real winner! To make this dish Atkins Induction acceptable, I have substituted 100% fresh cooked pumpkin flesh for the sweet potatoes. Can hardly tell it isn’t sweet potatoes, other than the color is more golden than orange (why I add red food coloring). Absolutely DO NOT SUBSTITUTE CANNED PUMPKIN in this recipe or you are going to be extremely disappointed. Just not the same dish. Once you reach the starchy veggie rung of OWL 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 texture. You will of course need to adjust nutritional info if you make that change as my numbers are for pumpkin only.
This dish (many savory pumpkin dishes, in fact) does not freeze too well. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, pumpkin flesh does not freeze well in bulk either, as its water separates out in the bottom of your baking pan upon thawing. That can really ruin the texture and appearance of some dishes. More than once has this happened to me and ruined my favorite baked pumpkin dishes when serving to company! If you freeze cooked, cubed pumpkin, I highly recommend draining awhile in a sieve over the sink before using in recipes. Even when you do this, I have had it just keep on bleeding out more water after constructing the recipe and baking. Totally spoils it for me, so I just avoid freezing pumpkin period! Pumpkin baked goods, on the other hand, freeze beautifully. Go figure!
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2½ lb. cooked fresh pumpkin
½ c. heavy cream
4 T. butter
¼ tsp. salt
2 T. fresh lime juice
zest of 1 large lime (2 if they are real small)
½ c. sugar equivalent of your favorite sweetener
1 tsp. maple extract (or 2 T. sugar-free maple syrup)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce) seeded, rinsed & chopped
OPTIONAL: 2-3 drops red food coloring to achieve orange color
DIRECTIONS: Cut off stem and cut a small 4-4½ lb. pie pumpkin in half. Remove seeds (you can roast them for snacks if you like) 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. Save (but do not freeze) any overage for some other use or a second batch of these, as you are GOING to want more when your guests have made them disappear. Whip pumpkin with electric mixer 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 also for richer flavor, but I don’t do this for everyday consumption as it ups the carbs quite a bit. I have not included this special occasion change 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. Stem, rinse, remove seeds and ribs with a knife. Finely mash/chop the pepper almost into a puree on a flat wooden board. Add in small increments to the pumpkin mixture, tasting as you go to be safe, and stir well. Let it sit a few minutes and taste again to see if hot enough for your palate. You don’t want to get this dish too hot, but a little tingle on the tongue is what you’re looking for. If you want even more smoky taste or a spicier dish, carefully repeat adding ¼ pepper at a time, re-tasting after each addition so you don’t overdo the “heat” level. TIP: If you always add hot peppers in stages, tasting as you go, to all your recipes with fully-cooked ingredients, you will never ruin an entire batch getting a dish too hot (I did one time). Never lose sight of the fact that individual peppers in the same can can vary widely in size and how hot they are, and that not everyone likes things as hot/spicy as you do. Just sayin’.
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 pumpkin alone, no sweet potato!)
114 calories, 7.6 g fat, 12.0 g carbs, 4.0 g fiber, 8g net carbs, 2.0 g protein, 121 mg. sodium