Earlier this week I promised another way to use the chipotle crema that I drizzled on fishless tacos. Here it is – sweet potato & black bean hash. Usually hash is a breakfast dish, but this version is hearty enough for lunch or dinner.
The black beans are sautéed with kale, onions, garlic, and peppers, seasoned with Mexican spices, and served over roasted sweet potatoes. It’s then topped with avocado, cilantro, and chipotle crema. The smoky crema works beautifully with the sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and chipotle peppers were made for each other. The dish has a wonderful mixture of flavors and textures that makes each bite a surprise.
Hash usually involves frying potatoes with peppers and onions. However, unless I’m making hash browns, I always prefer to bake potatoes over frying them. Frying potatoes requires more babysitting than I enjoy. It’s a hassle making sure that the oil is hot enough that they brown, low enough that they cook inside, crisp but not burnt, fried on the outside but not overly oily on the inside… With baking, I can lightly oil the potatoes, lay them across a parchment paper covered baking sheet, and not think about them until they’re done, except to toss them once or twice. It’s less hassle, and I can easily focus on the other parts of the meal.
Even without the fried potatoes, there’s still some frying involved in this recipe to make the dish feel a little decadent. However, this part only takes minutes to prepare.
Perhaps the best part of this dish is the scooping device – fried tortilla wedges.
When I’m making a meal, I like to think about the “star” ingredient. It’s the one that makes you want to eat everything else on the plate, because you need to go back for another bite of the “highlight” element. It’s often the ingredient that’s higher in fat and ticks those pleasure sensors. On tacos, it’s guacamole. On kale salads, it’s coconut bacon. On pasta salads, it’s the olives or marinated artichoke hearts. The rest of the ingredients in the dish are improved, because of the one aspect that raises the fun quotient.
In this sweet potato & black bean hash, the star ingredient is, surprisingly, the fried tortilla wedges. The hash is hearty and flavorful with sweetness from the potatoes, and it all gets scooped on to the crisp, fried tortilla wedges a bite at a time. It adds a satisfying crunch underneath. (I’ve made these fried tortilla wedges before for my puffy nachos recipe, where they’re covered in vegan queso and a slew of toppings.)
Cutting store-bought tortillas in quarters and then frying them in a light layer of oil makes them puff a little and get wonderfully crisp. You could certainly make the hash without them, but the fun quotient would go down by at least 23%. I recommend frying one tortilla (four quarters) for each person.
P.S. You can also switch up the recipe by varying the beans and potatoes. In addition to making this version, I’ve also made the same meal with pinto beans and russet potatoes (shown below). Keep the directions the same, and just swap out those two ingredients!