Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries with Cranberry Ketchup

Every month when my cooking magazines arrive, I devour them quickly, tearing out and cataloguing all the recipes that appeal to me. Then those recipes go into a folder, not to be looked at for several months. No matter how good a recipe looks, it seems like I'm always a few months behind. My menus are dictated more by the produce I have available than the recipes that show up. When my October magazines arrived, I was still in high summer, trying to use up my tomatoes and basil. I was not ready to think about winter squash and sweet potatoes, delicious though they are.This month, however, worked out better. When my November Cooking Light arrived a few days ago, my cupboard was bare. I was ready for sweet potato fries with cranberry ketchup. And cranberries have just come into season in New Jersey.

I went to the farmers market this morning and was delighted to see the bins of fresh cranberries, along with the other fall goodness pictured above (so many of my favorite vegetables are in season right now!). New Jersey is a big cranberry-producing state (Ocean Spray is actually headquartered about ten miles south of here in Bordentown - though I hear they'll be moving by next year). I'd been planning to take advantage of this cranberry bounty for some time, but I knew my timing had to be good. Last year I saw cranberries at the farmers market and stored that info in the back of my mind for Thanksgiving, when I would need them. But when Thanksgiving weekend rolled around, there were no cranberries to be had! The harvest had ended early. This year, I was assured this morning, they will still be around by then. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying some now!
This cranberry ketchup is easy to make and absolutely delicious. The tart sweetness of the cranberries holds up well against the zing of the vinegar and the heat of the red pepper flakes. While cranberries and sweet potatoes seems like a Thanksgiving-y combination, this recipe manages to evoke fall flavors without a holiday connotation. I'm sure it would be as good as a side dish for a family dinner as it was as my Tuesday lunch!

Sweet Potato Fries

1 1/2 to 2 lbs sweet potatoes, sliced into wedges
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat.

Spread the wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the wedges, and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Serve nice and hot!

Cranberry Ketchup
From Cooking Light November 2011.

1 2/3 c fresh cranberries
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 large shallot, chopped
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (you will start to hear the cranberries burst as they heat up). Cook 10 minutes, until thick, stirring every few minutes.

During those 10 minutes, the mixture will go from foamy and popping to deep red and gelatinous.

After the 10 minutes are through, once the mixture has gelled, remove from the heat and let rest for 10 more minutes.

Once the mixture has cooled a bit, transfer to a food processor (I used my small one) and process until smooth. Enjoy with sweet potato fries!

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