I don’t know why it’s so magical to me but lately I’ve been a big fan of combining sweet potatoes (or really yams) with cumin. There’s something about how the starchy sweetness seems to sing even more brightly when complemented by the earthy spice of cumin. I say this as a warning that there will be multiple visits to this flavor pairing on this blog in the near future.
Here is my first delicious foray into cumin sweet potato world. Ever on a quest to vary the filling for my burritos, I decided to nix meat all together and try making a vegetarian one. I roasted some pasilla peppers which imparts more sweet and smokey heat and flavor than canned green chiles. Once peeled and chopped, the peppers were mixed into a saute of diced yam, white onion, garlic and a can of black beans. With a generous palmful of ground cumin, a bit of cinnamon, some dashes of hot sauce, and a little bit of fennel seeds, this burrito packed tons of flavor. I also love the bright colors of this mix– it made me nostalgic for the Southwest and biting into these burritos triggered a longing to go back to New Mexico where you can simultaneously eat the best chili verde while seeing the most beautiful sunsets.
- 2 pasilla (or poblano) peppers
- canola oil
- 1 medium yam, peeled and diced
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 14.5 oz can of black beans, drained
- 1/2 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- your favorite hot sauce, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 package of 10 inch wide flour tortillas
- 1/2 to 1 cup crumbled ricotta salata or cotija cheese
- cooking spray
Preheat a broiler pan set on a rack that is three to four inches from the broiler. Brush the peppers with a little canola oil and set on the broiler pan. Broil until peppers are charred, flipping peppers around occasionally until they char on all sides, about 5-7 minutes per side. Place peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam for at least 20 minutes. Remove charred skin from peppers, remove seeds then chop and set aside.
While peppers steam, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add the yam and continue to saute until yam is softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in roasted chiles, garlic, and black beans. Mix in spices and hot sauce. Adjust salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Stir in cilantro.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Heat tortillas in the microwave, four at a time for 1 minute on high. Add about 1/2 cup of yam and black bean mixture to each tortilla and sprinkle with cheese to taste. Fold in the sides then roll the burrito from the bottom up. Set burritos, seam side down in the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Serve burritos, preferably with tons of guacamole and tortilla chips.