Thanksgiving Recipe: Ancho Chiles Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes

This is my favorite side dish with roast turkey. The idea here is to spoon some sweet potato puree into some dried ancho chiles that have been soaked in warm water to make them pliant. Then you put a medallion of goat cheese on top and stick the stuffed chiles in the oven and warm them up. It's an awesome presentation, and the ancho chiles give a really nice flavor to the sweet potato if you eat them together. But I have noticed that when I serve these, most people just eat the sweet potato and goat cheese and leave the pepper behind.

The editorial staff of the Houston Press has a holiday pot luck lunch every year in December. I brought sweet potato-stuffed peppers because there were so many vegetarians working here. People liked them so much, I bring them nearly every year now, even though we don't have any vegetarians in the newsroom anymore.

The recipe, after the jump.

Ancho Chiles Stuffed with Sweet Potatoes (from Nuevo Tex-Mex)

Yields 4 chile rellenos

  • 4 ancho chiles
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and boiled (about three cups)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 quarter-inch thick goat cheese discs

Soak the anchos in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened, but not falling apart, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted. Add the raisins and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. In a medium-size bowl, combine the butter mixture with the sweet potatoes and mash well. Add the garlic, cinnamon, thyme, pecans and salt to taste.

Slit the anchos lengthwise and carefully remove the seeds. Fill each ancho with the sweet potato mixture. (A normal-size ancho will hold between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup.) Transfer to a greased baking pan, top with a disc of goat cheese and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until hot.

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