Get ready you guys, comfort food has just reached new levels of awesomeness
If making a pot of beef chilli was not good enough, you’re about to pile it into sweet potato skins and top it off with oozing, melted cheese, and crispy BACON pieces. And then – if that wasn’t good enough – you’ll smear it with homemade guacamole (recipe coming soon, I promise!) sour cream and start stuffing it into your face.
I’ll give you a moment for that sensation to sink and, whilst you’re day dreaming, I will go and finish off the sweet skins sitting on my kitchen counter.
Before we continue I have a confession to make…..
I’m not proud of it (truth be told I’m quite ashamed) and it’s not something I find easy to admit so, guys, please be kind…
When I first made this recipe I had no intention of adding bacon….
I know! What is this insanity; this preposterous bacon felony!
If you must known I was (stupidly) trying to be some kind of foodie-puriust and the thought of adding bacon to a “Mexican” recipe just didn’t seem to fit. I even went as far as flicking through a few Mexican recipe books (no bacon there) to justify my decision.
But when I made this today – on a day when winter came hurling back to haunt us with hurricanes of bone biting winds – I really felt like soul-hugging comfort food and the lack of bacon was really messing with my head; what are potato skins without bacon? I told myself to stop be an idiot – for these potato skins are as much Mexican as Mac & Cheese is Italian – and that not including bacon would just be the craziest, stupidest, *facepalm* decision I have made. EVER!
Leson learned: There is absolutely NO – and I mean NO – logical way of justifying the absence of bacon from a perfectly good meal. I mean…. it’s BACON!!!!!!
Confession over, normality restored to the universe, let’s get back to the food……
There is no way of getting around it, this recipe does take some preparation and it’s not something you can throw together in a few minutes. But don’t leave yet (so c’mon, move that curser away from the “back” button, I see you!) because these Sweet Potato Skins are worth it.
They’re that perfect balance between sweet and savoury, spicy and cool. They’re ideal for snacking on a cold, wet and windy day (like it is here) or sharing during a summer BBQ (and by sharing I mean fighting over who gets the last piece!). It’s the classic snack with a difference.
Easy. Slather them with a little oil and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. Allow to cool. You’re halfway there 🙂
The tricky bit is making the “skins”. You’ll need to scoop out the potato which can be used in other recipes (hello sweet potato and cashew nut dip!). Sweet potatoes become very soft when cooked so, if you scoop out too much of the potato, you will need hands steadier than a bomb-disposal technician to continue. Make sure you leave a layer of potato about 1/2cm thick and you should be fine.
The Beef Chilli
Warning: Food-Nerd Moment:
I found a new Fruit and vegetable store today (the ever resourceful paramedic introduced me to it) and I was like a kid in a candy store. I dashed from aisle to aisle picking up random vegetables (sure I need a kilogram of celeriac! Who doesn’t!?!) with frequent outbursts concerning their quality (much better than the supermarket) and their price (much cheaper!)
The excitement reached unbelievable/ why-am-I-getting-so-excited-about-this levels when I found huge bags of tomatoes being given away for, practically, spare change. Its been a long cold winter and tomatoes are NOT cheap right now here in Australia so making tomatoes based sauces/ salsa and the like can be pricey. But not today
So this recipe calls for making then beef chilli with homemade chopped tomatoes, although you can easily swap this for a can of store-bought tomatoes.
The tomatoes may have been “made from scratch” but the beans were not for I was feeling lazy (or I just forgot to soak the beans the night before – hey, no one’s perfect.) If you do want to use dried beans you’ll need around half a cup. Follow the instructions on the packet on how to prepare them and then continue with the recipe. But however you make this – completely nude or not – it will be sensational.
So when that brief sense of self-doubt about weather using store-bought chopped tomatoes and beans is going to spoil these sweet skins, stop. None of that. Savour the chilli, the cheese and the bacon (it’s all about the bacon), fight over who gets the last piece and scrape up those remaining crumbs with eager, greasy fingers.
Me? I’m just waiting from the second batch to come out of the oven.
Mexicana Sweet Potato Skins
Prep Time: 30 mins || Cook Time: 1hr 15 mins
- Olive Oil
- 4 Medium sized sweet potatoes (about 500-700g each)
- 4 Rashers of bacon
- 5 Medium tomatoes or a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
- 2 – 4 Garlic cloves
- 1 – 2 large chillies (Red or green)
- 500g Beef Mince
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp Hot Paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 2 cups of shredded cheese
- Finely sliced cilantro, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and brush with a little oil. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool.
- Slice the tops of the tomatoes and squeeze out the excess liquid from inside. Finely chop
- Heat a little oil in a pan or skillet and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove to a plate. In the same pan sauté the garlic, onion and chillies for a few minutes on medium-high heat. Add the mince and cook for another few minutes or until it starts to brown.
- Add the herbs and spices and cook until they become fragrant. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and water and bring to the boil. Cover and allow to simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. Stir occasionally.
- When cool enough to handle slice the potatoes in half (lengthways) and again (widthways) to make 4 portions from each. Using a spoon scoop out the potato leaving 1/2cm layer to keep the skin walls sturdy. Fill the skins with the beef chilli mixture, top with cheese and bacon. Place into the oven (at 180°C/ 350°F) for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble and you can’t wait any longer.
- Serve with guacamole and sour cream. Cutlery optional.