Time: 1-2 hours (plus overnight soaking time)
(5 min prep/1-2 hours hands-free cooking) (Add 8 hours for soaking, if needed)
1/2-1 pound dried beans - I tried Sangre de Toro beans (yeah, woo hoo, pretentious me), but black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans would probably do great, too.
1-3 sweet potato
a fat of some kind - lard, oil, whatever you got. Optional, if you really can't have any.
sea salt to taste
seasonings to taste (I used crushed chile peppers, just a bit)
1. Sort the beans - essentially, make sure there's nothing gross in there that shouldn't be. Fill a large bowl with water, dump in the dried beans, and leave them alone for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Wash and scrub the sweet potato. Bake in 400 F oven for 45-60 minutes, until very soft and completely cooked through. If you're using a lot of beans, or the sweet potato is small, you might want to do 2-3 sweet potatoes.
3. After sweet potato goes into the oven, put water on to boil in a large pot. When boiling, drain the beans and dump them in. Do NOT add salt. Keep the pot on high until it starts boiling again and then turn it down to a high simmer. The reason you do not want to add salt is that it slows down the rate at which the beans absorb water (or so I hear).
4. In about 30-40 minutes, add salt to taste to the beans. If you are at a higher altitude, you will need to cook the beans longer as they absorb water slower with the lower boiling point. It can take up to twice as long, if you are up high enough (or longer, if you are REALLY up high). Cook the beans until they are a good texture. I mashed 'em, so really soft if totally fine.
5. When sweet potato done, take it out and let cool. When a good temperature, peel off the skin and mash the sweet potato in a bowl.
6. When beans done, drain. Pour back into bowl. Add the fat to the pan. A few Tablespoons per 1/2 pound of beans. If you have a salted fat, like from salted pork, then don't add salt. If you have a regular oil, add a little sea salt here, too. Mash about half the beans as they heat with the fat. You can mash them all, if preferred. If you have no oil, just mash these off the heat and heat for a little after they've been mashed. You can add a little water or broth to thin them out instead of an oil.
7. When the beans are done and the sweet potatoes are done, mix the two mashes together at a proportion of 2:3 sweet potatoes to beans. That's it. You're done.
Feeds: Completely dependent on how much you make. I assume about 1/2 sweet potato per person.
What worked: Texture was awesome, just what I wanted. Soft and mashed and warm. The taste reminded me of a mild baked beans, a little salty, a little sweet. Very nice, and surprised me how much the beans masked some of that 'dark' sweet potato flavor, so I didn't really notice it was sweet potatoes like I thought I would. Color was fine, but not awesome - a pale brown, with the bean I used. With a darker bean with red coloring, like kidney bean, that might increase the impression that it is a baked bean mash of some kind. Smell was beany, no surprise.
What didn't work: All by itself, with no other foods, it fell a little flat. It wasn't bad, but I just kept wishing for something more, or crunchier, or bready, to go with it. Also, it was a nice flavor, but not that complex.
What would improve it: It would go well as a dip or with something wrapped around it. Tamale or burrito filling might be good, if you can have grains. Chips of some kind if you can do that. I honestly can't think of what I could have this with yet....maybe some homemade, deep fried sweet potato chips would be good with it?? Maybe it could be used as topping for a burger or a veggie burger? As a dip for a falafel of the same or complementary kind of beans?
And it could be a richer flavor with some additions. I have seen a lot of sweet potato/bean recipes out there which add other seasonings, like cumin, onions, garlic, chile powder, even mustard powder and soy sauce. Out of these, I can currently have the chile, if I make it myself. So you'll have to experiment on your own for this one. I'm a bit stuck on that.
The Sangre de Toro beans actually tasted a little of pork, so adding some pork to this, or using this as a dip or spread for something with pork, might work well, with this specific bean.
LOW HISTAMINE DIET - Depending on the lists, sweet potato may or may not be good on the low histamine diet. You'll have to check it for yourself to see how you do. :-)