Sweet potato… The fluorescent orange alternative to its equally boring white, or Yukon Gold brethren. When not trying to be like a regular potato — either getting mashed, or cut into french fry form — the sweet potato can be extraordinary, but needs some help. And as we’ve learned, nothing plays a better supporting role than a pork-flavored sidekick.
Casting bacon in this role would be a mistake — it would just hog the spotlight, and we’re merely trying to complement the sweet potato. Our pork co-star for this installment of Power to the People is bacon’s Italian cousin, pancetta.
Pancetta, sometimes referred to as ‘italian bacon’, is heavily cured with salt, pepper, and spices. But unlike bacon, pancetta is not smoked. This will act as a less threatening partner to our sweet potato — while providing the fat, texture, and flavor needed for a killer hash.
Let’s do this thing… What you’ll need to serve approximately six.
- 4-5 medium sweet potatoes, small-med diced*
- 1 lb pancetta, small-med diced
- 3 granny smith apples, small-med diced
- 1 yellow or sweet onion, small-med diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- sage, 1/4 cup chopped
- parsley, 1/2 cup chopped
- chicken stock
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- two sauté pans
- slotted spoon
Add thin layer of olive oil to first pan. Add pancetta and sauté over med-high heat, rendering fat. Transfer enough of the resulting pancetta fat to cover the bottom of the second pan.
Once pancetta receives good color, remove with slotted spoon, set aside. Add potato to remaining pancetta fat, brown until potato begins to soften.
In second pan, add onion, garlic and sage to hot pancetta oil. Cook until onions are soft and start to take on some color, add apples. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients back to original pan, toss, season appropriately, taste.
Add stock if mixture appears too dry, heat over low heat to let all ingredients come together. Add chopped parsley, serve. Make sure to tell ’em Foodiggity sent ya.
*An alternative to dicing pesky root vegetables would be to cut potatoes into thin quartered slices. This will also make for a more rustic hash if that’s your thing.
Bonus: Reserve a bit more pancetta fat for a complementary cider gravy. Add flour to fat to create a roux, add cider, cloves and a little cayenne, simmer, thicken until it coats a spoon.
So that’s the story of the Pig and The Potato… and we’re sticking to it.