This dish is something of a true champion in Casa LeenLovesStyle. Tried and tested, it works winter and summer, as a simple meat & veg dinner or as side dish when you’re hosting a dinner party. The sweetness of the potatoes and dates is countered perfectly by the slight piney and earthy aroma of the rosemary and that gentle nudge of salt of the lardons (don’t you just love that word? Sounds so much fancier than plain bacon, doens’t it). Oh, and did I mention that the prep is super easy, and that everyone is guaranteed to love it? Without further ado, let’s dig in…
1 kg of sweet potatoes
5 large medjool dates
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp fresh rosemary (about three or four sprigs)
150 gr cured lardons
20 min prep time + +/- 40 min in the oven
Let’s get cooking:
Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in cubes of about 2 x 2 cm. Place them in an oven resistant baking dish. Slice the dates into small cubes, and add them to the baking dish, together with the olive oil, the rosemary and the lardons. Give the ingredients a good hustle, so that the olive oil and the rosemary really coat the potatoes. Put in the oven for about 40 minutes (but make sure to give it a bit of a toss after about 20 minutes), until the sweet potatoes are completely cooked and soft inside. My kids love it when the sweet potatoes are so cooked through that they’re easy to mash, so I keep them in the oven for a bit longer.
Once ready, the dates will have slightly melted and slightky sticky and gooey and the lardons will have infused the rest of the dish with that delicious hint of salt. That gorgeous, almost coral shade will look stunning on you table, adding a touch of colour (#eatwithyoureyesaswell).
One more reason to love this dish is the fun to be had with it, the Spielerei so to say. Varieties are aplenty, I’ve topped it off with some freshy chopped spring onions right before serving it, I’ve replaced the lardons with cubed pancetta for a more different hit of salt, you could spice it up a tad by adding a finely chopped jalapeño pepper into the mix, and so on. Prefer something less sticky than those dates. Switch them out in favour of some juicy and enticing fresh figs. In that case, do not add them in straight away with the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients, but add them in halfway through.
Do you have any failsafe recipes? Any go-to dishes that always work? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!