Fall produce is starting to creep into our markets, and the weather can’t make up its mind what to do. This is the time of year when I start craving the heavier, heartier foods of fall, but don’t have the patience or the cool temperature to want to cook a true fall feast. Solution: toaster oven!
I cook a lot of my meals in my toaster oven. If I’m baking something, and it will fit on a toaster-oven-sized pan, then into the T.O. she goes. If you don’t own one, I highly recommend you get one. This recipe is the perfect way to get started. Throw a couple of sweet potatoes in there and bake them into submission without overheating your whole house. Win-win.
This sweet potato is loaded up with a delicious combination of savory ingredients – leeks, bacon, and mushrooms – and kissed with a beautiful warm balsamic vinaigrette. It was born from a place of having various produce that I needed to use up, and a baby who needed to get to bed (turns out the time it takes to bake two sweet potatoes = roughly the amount of time needed to bathe, feed, and put my son to bed). It turned out to be delicious.
Sweet potatoes are packed to the gills with nutrition, particularly fiber and vitamin C. Mushrooms are under-appreciated little fellows, linked with prevention of prostate and breast cancer. And leeks are good for cardiovascular health and inflammation. Bacon – well, bacon has no real health benefits but it tastes incredible. One measly slice divided between two people isn’t going to give you a heart attack.
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Mushrooms, Leeks and Bacon
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
- 1 slice bacon, chopped
- 1-2 tsp olive oil, as needed
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven (or toaster oven!) to 375 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork and put on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until very tender when pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool slightly.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooling, cook the chopped up bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and slightly crispy. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the bacon pieces from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the leeks and mushrooms to the bacon fat, adding a little olive oil if the pan is fairly dry. Cook until the leeks are browned and tender, and the mushrooms are tender.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to the skillet to deglaze it, and stir to coat the mushrooms and leeks. Remove from heat and add the bacon pieces back into the mix.
- When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them lengthwise and pull open. Top with the mushroom-leek-bacon mixture, including the juices from the pan. Serve immediately.
NOTE: If you have leftover mushroom-bacon-leek mixture, which you probably will, toss it into your scrambled eggs the next morning. You will thank me.