Iowa’s fall brings many gifts, including beautiful fall foliage, cooler temperatures, high school and college football games and delicious foods. I’m not just talking about candy corn, which, like Reese’s peanut butter cups, is a sweet temptation I need to stay away from. Instead, I’m relishing fresh tomatoes and eggplant from my spouse’s garden (watch for some eggplant recipes next week) and the wonderful apples my colleague Nicole shared from a family member’s tree.
In addition to their flavor, low price (especially with this fall’s expected bumper crop) and portability, apples were found by a 2011 Dutch study to contribute to a lower risk of stroke. Based on data collected from 20,069 men and women over a 10-year period, those who consumed at least 171 grams of “white” produce daily – equal to about one medium apple – had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke than those who ate less than 78 grams of white fruit a day. Thus proving there really is scientific evidence that an apple a day will keep the doctor away!
While there’s no bad way to eat this fine fruit – raw, baked, sliced and slathered with peanut butter, to name a few great ways – my newest version is from Washington Post columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, which she adapted from her grandmother’s way-sweeter casserole. The dish can be made one day in advance. To reheat, use 10-minute increments in the microwave on high or transfer the sweet potatoes to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes until heated through.
Curried sweet potatoes with apples
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced (1/2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1 firm, sweet apple, such as Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash the potatoes and prick some holes or slits in the skins, then place them on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until juices run out of the slits and the potatoes are soft all the way through; the oven time will depend on the size of the potatoes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place them in a medium bowl.
While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Add the curry powder, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the salt; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then increase the heat to medium and add the apple. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so and adjusting the heat so the onion does not burn, until the apple is tender. Remove from the heat.
Use the back of a large serving fork to mash the sweet potatoes in the bowl. Add the curried-apple-onion mixture, stirring thoroughly to combine. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Nutritional info per each of six servings: calories, 186; total fat, 5g; saturated fat, 1g; cholesterol, 0mg; sodium, 110mg; total carbohydrates, 34g; dietary fiber, 5g; sugar, 9g; protein, 3g