Spinach & Prosciutto Stuffed Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Friday, April 27, 2012

spinach twice baked sweet potatoes

In the latest issue of Bon Appetit, they have a little blurb about getting the most out of your food; it turns out our bodies need help in absorbing certain nutrients.  The easiest example is Vitamin D and Calcium: our bodies need vitamin D to be present in order to better absorb calcium, which is why milk is now usually fortified with vitamin D.  Simple! Right?  Clearly, I was fascinated with this article and started wondering how I could incorporate this new found knowledge into my everyday diet so I got started right away with the energy-boosting Vitamin C and Iron combo.  Vitamin C is the helper here and an increased amount of iron will help raise energy levels, so I started hunting for recipes that might fit the bill.

I’ve had this recipe from Pinch of Yum saved for quite a while and I used it as a base to create my own stuffed twice-baked sweet potatoes.  All I can say is…these potatoes are delicious!  You hardly remember that you’re eating healthily and you feel great afterwards.  I tried to make a few healthy switches (greek yogurt instead of sour cream, a little bit of homemade ricotta instead of cream cheese) and some additions (prosciutto is also high in iron and adds some salty crunch), but the base still stands: sweet potatoes, which are high in vitamin C and spinach, which is high in iron.  After just one of these potatoes each, my dinner guest and I were stuffed and couldn’t eat any more.  Even better, they heat up beautifully, so these are some leftovers you’ll be happy to eat.

Spinach & Prosciutto Stuffed Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Adapted/Inspired by Pinch of Yum
Serves 4

**See notes below

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (I tried to find some that when cut in half would make good boats that would stand up on their own)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons creamy homemade ricotta (or substitute cream cheese)
  • approx 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere (I used Trader Joes’ Cheddar & Gruyere Mélange)
  1. Bake the sweet potatoes in a 350 oven for 1 hour or until soft when poked with a fork.  When the potatoes are done, set them aside to cool for 10 minutes or so before slicing in half, lengthwise.
  2. Leave the oven on 350 degrees after you take out the potatoes and lay the three slices of prosciutto on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil.  Bake for 5 minutes, flip the prosciutto slices and bake for 5 minutes longer.  Leave the oven on again and set the prosciutto aside.
  3. In the meantime, melt the butter in a large pan and saute the shallot until soft.  (The shallots were still a little too pronounced in “oniony” flavor for me, so next time I’ll let them go much longer and caramelize them a bit instead.)
  4. When the shallots are soft, turn the heat off under then pan and dump the bag of spinach into the pan, stirring slowly as the spinach leaves wilt.  You don’t want them turned to mush, just darkened and a little softened–the residual heat from the pan should be enough to accomplish this.
  5. Once the potatoes have cooled a bit, slice them in half length wise and gently scoop out the insides of the potato, leaving a 1/2″ or more of potato in the skin, to keep the skin sturdy.  Brush the skins with some olive oil and put them in the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. While those are baking, in a large bowl, mix together the insides of the sweet potatoes, the yogurt, ricotta, spinach-shallot mixture and then rip the prosciutto into small pieces into the bowl and mix until well combined.
  7. Take the potato skins out of the oven, divide the filling from the bowl evenly into the skins, then sprinkle the cheese over the tops of the filling and bake for another 10 minutes until the filling is heated and the cheese melted.  Enjoy!

**Cooking Notes: I went to my local Italian deli for some suggestions about what sort of meat to add instead of bacon, which I felt was too strongly flavored.  Sadly, they weren’t much help, but when I decided on prosciutto, the guy tried to give me thick slices “for baking”–he clearly didn’t understand what I was aiming for!  I whispered to the person cutting it to go ahead and slice it thin like they would for sandwiches so that it would turn out nice and crispy.

Also, this recipe is for 2 potatoes, which make 4 servings (one half potato each).  The thing about sweet potatoes, however, is that, unlike white potatoes, the skin often cleanly separates from the potato, which makes carving out a sturdy little boat very difficult.  Anticipating this, I roasted three potatoes and picked out the 4 halves that didn’t separate and saved the other 2 to eat later.

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