Chipotle Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Bacon Tacos

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What better way to celebrate #TacoTuesday than a new taco recipe? It's been awhile since my last taco post, so I feel like I need to get back on my taco game as far as this blog goes. Confession. This one started out vegan, but you know what happens when you spot that package of bacon in the fridge. So much for that idea. But hey, something amazing almost always happens when bacon is involved. These tacos are no exception. Easy, smoky, spicy, messy...all of which made for some pretty awesome tacos if I do say so myself. So feel free to leave the bacon out if you must, but I enjoyed the extra layer of flavor and texture that it added to my spicy roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, creamy black beans and tangy yogurt sauce. There is a lot of flavor going on in there. Also, this is another recipe that doesn't break the bank; who doesn't need more of those? I don't really feel like a taco this good needs much more of an introduction, so let's just move on to the recipe!

Chipotle Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Bacon Tacos

8 oz. smoked bacon, diced
2 organic sweet potatoes, peeled & diced (approx 1 1/2 lbs)
1 red onion, diced
1 can organic black beans, drained & rinsed
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 limes
Handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 c. drained Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp honey
Cinnamon, to taste
Smoked paprika,to taste
Cumin, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
8 Corn or flour tortillas

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Equipment Needed: Roasting pan, large heavy skillet (cast-iron recommended), small skillet for tortillas (or microwave)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Add the bacon to a cold skillet, heat to medium high and cook until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tbsp bacon fat in the skillet. Save the rest of the bacon fat for the next step.

While my bacon fried up, I diced the sweet potatoes and onions. Always make use of "dead" time while you're cooking. If you don't have prep work to do, you probably have cleaning or plating to get started.

We've talked about these in previous posts, but if you're new to the game, allow me to introduce you to the Chipotle Pepper. They are dried, smoked jalapenos. In my opinion the flavor is more smoky than spicy, but they still pack quite a bit of heat as does the sauce. A small can like this will last me through several recipes, so don't feel like you have to use it all at once (mostly because you'd probably die.) I chopped up two or three. My son isn't quite on board with anything too spicy so that was conservative for my tastes!

In a large bowl, toss the diced sweet potatoes with chopped chipotle peppers, 2 tbsp bacon fat, the juice of one lime, and plenty of cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon - about a teaspoon each if you need a guestimate.  I went heavier on the cumin and smoked paprika than the cinnamon.  If for some reason you didn't render enough bacon fat, you can use olive or coconut oil.

Spread out the diced potatoes in a roasting pan or baking sheet, lined with parchment paper for the least amount of mess or sticking. If you don't have parchment paper, spray lightly with non-stick cooking oil. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and black pepper. Roast at 400° until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

In the skillet you cooked up that delicious bacon should be about 2 tbsp reserved bacon fat. Add the diced red onions, turn down the heat to low, and allow these to caramelize while the sweet potatoes roast.

You'll just need to stir these occasionally  making sure they aren't sticking to the skillet. If the pan dries up add a splash of water.  Caramelizing onions takes some time over low heat, but the pay off is so worth it. When they are soft and translucent like this, you're about halfway there.

While the onions are going, you can make the yogurt sauce.  I haven't been eating a lot of yogurt lately, so these little small cups are perfect when I just need to make something for one dish.

To the Greek yogurt, add a spoonful of adobo sauce, one clove of garlic (minced), the juice and zest of one  lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

I thought it needed just a little sweetness to balance the flavors of the taco, so I ended up adding some honey to finish the sauce. 

Now it was perfect. Creamy, tangy, slightly spicy and sweet. Greek yogurt makes fantastic sauces that will convert most sour cream fiends!

Meanwhile, these onions are looking pretty good...but not quite there yet! 

Ah, there we go. Caramelized onions lose quite a bit of their original volume. They should be dark and crispy around the edges, and super concentrated with sweet onion flavor. The amount of time varies depending on the sweetness of the onion you started with, but expect at least 20-30 minutes of caramelization time (I timed mine to cook while the sweet potatoes were roasting.)

To the onions, add a couple teaspoons of minced garlic.  Season the onions with a pinch of kosher salt, a little cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Most of the seasoning went into the potatoes, so you really don't need to add too much here. Half a teaspoon each of cumin and smoked paprika, pinch of cinnamon... try not to think too hard. They're tacos. 

Stir in the black beans and allow them to warm up. Season with a little salt and pepper. 

You're about ready to plate now, so warm up your tortillas in a small dry skillet or in the microwave.

The sweet potatoes should be ready now...resist the temptation to just make a plate of these piled high with bacon. Ok, maybe that's just me. But you do want to throw in that crispy diced bacon and gently toss to distribute evenly.

You're ready to plate! Scoop some black beans into a warmed tortilla...

Follow with a good portion of roasted sweet potatoes & crispy bacon...

And finish with a dollop of yogurt sauce and a few sprigs of cilantro.  I didn't even bother chopping it up, but I love cilantro like that.

Serve with extra lime wedges for garnish. Prepare for a #TacoTuesday party in your mouth, and make sure you have plenty of cold Mexican's only right!

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  1. Angela this looks delicious!! I have started healthy cooking classes with my two daughters and this will be an excellent dish to start. I will let you know how it turns out:)

    1. Thank you, and please do! That's great to involve your girls, what a great way for them to start on the right path.