I received some local sweet potatoes from our weekly farmers market box and I really wanted to treat them like a protein or the star.  I've done all kinds of things with vegetables and sweet potatoes but I have not prepared this dish before.  I poached the sweet potato very slowly in a Jamaican spiced broth.  Using a ring mold I cut out the sweet potato, rolled it in jerk seasoning and then seared it.  I paired the dish with a coconut curry sauce and a habanero pear pickle or escabeche.  Topped the dish off with roasted sliced almonds and enjoy.  This was another dish from last weeks vegetarian meal. 


4 sweet potatoes

2 oz of ginger sliced

2 shallots

6 cups of water or enough to cover sweet potatoes

4 garlic cloves

3 pc cloves

3 pc star anise

1 tbsp whole allspice

1 cinnamon stick

1 habanero

2 tbsp of salt

Habanero Escabeche (pickle)

1 yellow onion small diced

1 Asian pear peeled and small diced

7 habanero's de-seeded and small diced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp of oregano

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar 

1 tbsp of sugar

1 tsp of salt

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of fresh chopped cilantro

1 cup of sliced almonds roasted

Coconut curry sauce

1 can of coconut milk

2 tbsp of curry powder

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 shallot minced

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 tsp of lime zest

1 tsp of corn starch

1 tsp of water

salt to taste

1/4 cup of store bought Jerk seasoning or here is a homemade recipe

Jerk Seasoning

6 hot red peppers finely chopped

1 cup of chives

1 tsp of garlic powder

3/4 tsp of ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/4 tsp of ground cloves

1/4 tsp of ground allspice

1/2 tsp of thyme leaves

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/4 tsp of salt

For a thinner paste add 1 tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of olive oil

For the sweet potatoes

Place sweet potatoes in a medium size pot and cover with water.  Add all of the spices and vegetables to the pot.  Slowly bring the pot up to a light simmer, cover and turn down to low.   You want to cook the sweet potatoes very gently, so that they stay intact.   If you boil the potatoes they are going to take on a lot of water and will probably fall apart on you in the next step. After about 45 minutes to an hour, using a knife, test the middle of the potato to see if it is done.  You want the potato to be still firm but tender and cooked through.  You want to cook the sweet potatoes until they are just done.  Times will vary depending on size of the potatoes.   If they are tender but firm, take the sweet potatoes out of the water and place on a plate to cool.  If they are still very firm cook 15 minutes more and check again.

Once the sweet potatoes have completely cooled to room temperature, take a small round cookie cutter.  Starting from one end of the sweet potato using the round cookie cutter to cut out lengthwise a cylinder of sweet potato.  I held the sweet potato in my left hand and starting from one end of the sweet potato using my right hand to push and hold the round cookie cutter.  This is a very delicate process because you don't want the sweet potato to fall apart by push to hard and this is where if you over cooked your potato there is no chance for your potato staying together.  I didn't want to place the sweet potato on the cutting board standing up because again when I push down with the cookie cutter it would have been to much pressure for the potato to stay together so that is why I did this step in my hand.  If you where using a regular potato it might be a little more forgiving but sweet potatoes have a lot of moisture and for that reason are a lot more delicate.  So start from one end and go all the way to the other end of the sweet potato peeling the sides of the sweet potato as the cookie cutter goes down the sides.  This explanation sounds a lot harder than it really is.  Just be gentle with your touch.   After you get your cylinders cut out, cut the ends off if there was any peel and to make the cylinder all the same size.  Set aside until ready to use.

For the pear escabeche

In a small sauce pot on medium high heat add oil, onion, garlic, habanero, and oregano.  Saute for two minutes and then add the vinegars.  Bring to a boil and then add the asian pear, sugar, and salt.  Cook for one more minute and then turn off the heat.  Allow the pickle to cool completely in the pot.  After it has cooled completely pour into a storage container and add the chopped cilantro.  Adjust the seasoning if needed and set aside until ready to plate.

For the sauce

In a small sauce pot on medium high heat add oil, shallot, garlic, and curry powder.  saute for one minute and then add the coconut milk and lime zest.  Bring to a boil.  Make a slurry with corn starch and cold water.  Whisk the slurry into the coconut mixture and turn down to a simmer.  Season with salt and lime juice if needed.  Keep warm until ready to use.

For the jerk seasoning.  I used a store bought seasoning because I had it and it was dried already.  If you don't have any or don't want to use store bought then see the next step. Add all the jerk ingredients together into a food processor and puree until smooth.  Pour jerk into a shall bowl or plate.  Then take your sweet potato cylinders and roll into the jerk seasoning. 

To plate.

In a non stick or cast iron skillet add 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the jerk cylinders into the pan and sear on each side for about a minute.  Until a nice crust forms on the sweet potato.  Spoon a little coconut curry sauce down on the plate.  Place the jerk sweet potato on top of the sauce.  Using a small mold add some habanero pear escabeche.  Garnish with some roasted almonds and enjoy!