Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Potato

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~ Douglas Adams

Do you have a baby? Have you ever looked at a raw sweet potato* and thought, “What the heck am I supposed to do with this?” Well, this is the right place for you to be, my friend! Here are my favorite things to do with sweet potato, in the baby feeding sense (not in the OH MY GOD GET IN MY FACE sense, which is also a legitimate lifestyle choice.)

Both of these recipes** rely on having one or more cooked sweet potatoes on hand. I find that I prefer to bake them in a 400° oven for about an hour and a quarter (for a medium to large potato), as this seems to maintain their flavor and texture better than boiling. But you may feel free to cook them in whatever way you like best. Who am I to judge?

Sweet Lentils

Ingredients:

One large, cooked sweet potato

One third of a cup (uncooked) red lentils

At least one large glass of beer (this takes a little while, so you don’t want to get too messed up. If you have backup from another adult-type cooking person, to make sure you don’t light the kitchen on fire, then go ahead and have wine or whatever.)

Tunes (something that’s good for singing along and dancing)

Technique:

Set the potato aside. Unless you haven’t cooked it yet, in which case, get on that. Turn on your tunes. Put the lentils in a small saucepan with a couple of cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that you’ve got a nice simmer going on. Stir frequently, since this stuff will burn and stick to the pan pretty easily. Add water as necessary. You’re likely to be cooking this for at least twenty minutes, so rock out and drink your beer while you keep an eye on it and stir and add water and all that jazz. So, how do you know when it’s done? Here’s a brief pictorial guide.

This has just started to cook.

Partway there. Don’t you love the PERMANENT STAINS on the stove? We just ADORE living in rental houses.

Pretty much done. Taste it and make sure that the few lentils that haven’t dissolved are fully softened. Once they are …

Poof! Cooked lentils! Dump them into your blending cup along with the sweet potato (scooped out of its skin and chunked up into pieces) and blend with your hand blender. You shouldn’t have to blend very much, since it’s all mush anyway — mostly just to mix it up well.

Sweet Lentils is a really great, sweet-ish blank canvas for you to experiment with spices with your baby.

Another thing to do with sweet potatoes:

Sweet Chicken

Ingredients:

One large, cooked sweet potato

Two roasted, unseasoned chicken drumsticks with skins removed

Aww, look at the sweet little chicken! Let’s eat it.

Technique:

Remove the meat from the bones and remove any gristle. Tear up the meat into small-ish bits, the better to blend it. Dump the meat and the sweet potato (again, scooped out of its skin and chunked up) into your blending cup and blend it up with the hand blender. Easy easy!

Yum! Look at you! You’re a baby food chef extraordinaire!

* Here’s an interesting little tidbit for all you sticklers.

** So, here’s the thing about sweet potatoes. They are the perfect baby food. Mash or purée them and they are great for even the littlest of solid-food eaters. They also are pretty great with other vegetables and various spices. The two recipes I chose are ones that I use all the time to get some protein into my young’un.

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