Cranberry Walnut Sweet Potatoes
Food styled by Lara MiklasevicS
That dash of red sitting dutifully next to the turkey on your holiday dinner plate is much more than a condiment. Cranberries are packed full of powerful antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, and contain no fat and no cholesterol. Since they are low in sodium and also contain potassium, they can help maintain healthy blood pressure and may offer a natural defense against the development of cardiovascular disease. That’s a lot from a little berry.
Available fresh from September or October to December, this native North American fruit can be eaten raw, but since they are very tart most people prefer to cook them or counteract the cranberry’s tartness by combining them with a sweetener, or with other sweet fruits such as apples, oranges, or other berries. And while it seems like the holidays are big for this small fruit, only about 20 percent of cranberries are consumed during this time; most are enjoyed year-round in juice, sauces, and chutneys or sweetened and dried.
There are certainly many ways to give thanks for these ultra-healthy berries from adding them to yogurt or cereal or whipping up a smoothie with cranberry juice cocktail, vanilla yogurt, and strawberries. Toss sweetened dried cranberries in a salad or spread cranberry sauce on a turkey or ham sandwich. Try sweetened dried cranberries in place of jelly in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Top grilled salmon, chicken, or pork with spicy cranberry chutney, or add dried cranberries to rice or risotto. When it’s time for a treat, bake fresh cranberries in muffins or use sweetened dried cranberries in bars, pies, cobblers, and cookies as you would raisins. Also try them atop sweet potatoes for a holiday dinner twist.
Makes 8 servings
4 large sweet potatoes
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
¹⁄3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
¼ cup cranberry juice
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Bake at 400°F for 1 hour or until tender.
In a small saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add the cranberries, syrup, water, cranberry juice, and ¹⁄8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until berries pop, stirring occasionally. Stir in walnuts and mustard; heat through.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt. Top each
with 2 tablespoons cranberry mixture; sprinkle with chives.