CAMOTES WITH SALSA MACHA
Celebrated Houston chef and restaurateur Hugo Ortega remembers his first Thanksgiving, in the 1980s, with his then girlfriend, Tracy Vaught. “The sweet potatoes had marshmallows on them,” he says. “I thought, ‘Weird.’ ” Three decades later, Ortega and Vaught are married, and their table still includes that classic casserole,
alongside this traditional preparation from Ortega’s native Mexico City. Instead of sweet-on-sweet, the natural sugars are balanced by salt, tang, and umami.
3 medium tomatoes, halved 2 tsp corn oil
16 dried chile de árbol peppers,
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can chipotle peppers in
adobo, seeded and deveined 1 cup roasted peanuts
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp lard (or olive oil)
1½ tsp kosher salt 1. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tsp corn oil and roast in a 400°F oven until caramelized, about 40 minutes, and reserve. Toast the árbol chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes, and reserve.
2. Add remaining corn oil to a skillet and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add chipotles to soften in the oil-garlic mixture as it cools.
3. Crush peanuts in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Add árbol chilies, tomatoes, and garlic- chipotle mixture to the food processor and puree, slowly adding ½ cup water in a steady stream as the processor runs. Add olive oil using the same method. Add oregano and peanuts and pulse to a chunky texture.
4. Melt lard in a saucepan over medium heat. Add salsa and cook until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Add salt. Cool completely before serving. Camotes
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
Crema fresca, for serving
Salsa macha, for serving
Blue cheese, for serving 1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Toss the sweet potatoes, olive oil, and salt in a bowl to coat, then transfer to an oiled sheet pan. Roast in oven until a knife slides easily through, 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven, and when cool enough to handle, cut into ½-inch slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter, drizzle with crema and
salsa macha, and sprinkle with blue cheese. Serve warm.