Roasted Jamaican Jerk Sweet Potatoes

The year 2020 may have had its ups and downs, but it has had one definite positive in our family – it has been the year of the sweet potato. I had tried sweet potatoes many times before, but this was the first year  that I made them for Cole. Luckily, he loved them! This led me to try out many new ways of cooking them, ranging from the grill, to fries, to roasting them. 

Most recipes for sweet potatoes lean toward oven roasting them. However, those recipes tend to roast them on higher temperatures. While we were enjoying these recipes, there was something about this technique that always bothered me. Since the potatoes were supposed to be cooked at such high temperatures, they also needed to be cut on the small side to ensure that they would be done quickly. Raw sweet potatoes are a very hard root veggie, and it can be challenging to cut them extremely small. In addition to the challenge of slicing them; oftentimes, the outsides of the potatoes would get a crunchier texture than I desired from the high temperature. 

I decided to try something new. I was going to roast my sweet potatoes low and slow, and because Jamaican Jerk seasoning has been my go-to flavor of the summer, that would be my secret weapon to flavoring the spuds. 

After one trial, I was hooked! They may have taken longer to bake, but they turned out perfectly! They also served as a delicious side to pork chops, which coincidentally, need to be roasted on low temperatures too. 

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds Peeled and Diced Sweet Potatoes (1 inch chunks)

4 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Directions

1. Start by prepping the sweet potatoes. Peel, wash, and dice them into 1 inch pieces. 

Kitchen Tip 1: It is very important to make sure that the potato chunks are staying close to the same size. If some pieces are large and others are small, they will need different cooking times to bake through entirely. No one likes biting on a hard, not fully cooked potato, so consistency is key. 

2. After the potatoes are cut into pieces, place them into a 3 quart, greased baking dish.

3. Mix the Jamaican Jerk seasoning directly into the butter and then melt the mixture. 

Kitchen Tip 2: Jamaican Jerk seasoning can be bought at the store pre-mixed or can be created from spices in your very own cabinet. My personal preference for this seasoning is to use a recipe from a fellow food blogger, Tanya Harris, at My Forking Life. Her recipe is incredible! Many people get scared away from Jamaican Jerk flavors because they worry that it is going to be too spicy, but her recipe balances the sweet and spicy perfectly to create a delicious concoction. I highly recommend checking out her recipe to whip up your own Jamaican Jerk Seasoning instead of buying a jar from the store. I have actually started to make this up in bulk and storing it in a container, so that it is readily available whenever I am in the mood for some Jerk flavored food. After all, it tastes great on so many different things!

4. Once the butter and seasoning is mixed and melted, pour it over the potatoes and stir until everything is covered. 

5. Next, preheat the oven to 325 degrees, cover the baking dish, and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, pulling it once out at the halfway marker to stir the potatoes. 

I know this seems like a commitment to spend an hour and fifteen minutes roasting sweet potatoes, but the result is worth the wait. Spending the time to cook them low and slow prevents the outsides of the potatoes from becoming too crispy, and instead they are buttery, soft, and perfect. I like to give these potatoes a light drizzle of ranch before eating them, but Cole would argue that they are delicious all on their own. Overall, even though they may take a while to bake, this is a very low maintenance recipe, and think of all the other cooking you can do while your potatoes are roasting in the oven! Enjoy!

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