Pineapple Sweet Potatoes

pineapple sweet potatoesJamaicaway is a Caribbean style restaurant in Nashville that is one of my very favorite restaurants. They have an extensive vegetarian and vegan selection in addition to omnivore items and it's just like the traditional soul food I'm used to from Memphis but with a twist. My favorite entree is the vegan fried "chicken" which is made from vital wheat gluten. I order it with a side of fried plantains and pineapple sweet potatoes. I almost never order anything else.

This year, we were hosting Christmas dinner at our house and instead of traditional sweet potato casserole, I decided to try my version of the pineapple sweet potatoes. I roasted the sweet potatoes and pineapple instead of steaming them, so the texture is different (definitely drier, but also not stringy) but it is still really good. I was cooking for five, so this recipe was made with three large sweet potatoes, but it can easily be adjusted down for a smaller crowd. One large sweet potato will yield 2-3 servings (judging by the leftovers, it was more like three for mine).

Notes: I used butter, but you can easily make it vegan by substituting coconut oil (which I wish I'd done anyway; I think it would taste better). It takes a while to cook, but you can cut the time in half by microwaving the sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes before adding them to the recipe (you can also make this a day in advance and re-heat; I did this and transferred to a prettier dish to serve). Reduce the size of the recipe by estimating one large sweet potato for every two people and reducing the amount of pineapple accordingly.

Pineapple Sweet Potatoes
serves 6

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 16 oz can of chunk pineapple
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp butter (1/2 a stick), cut into 8 slices

Place the sweet potatoes and pineapple in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the spices, salt, and sugar and stir together. Place the slices of butter evenly over the mixture and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes covered and then 45 minutes uncovered (until the sweet potatoes are soft).