My goal was simple — a company-worthy dip that didn't involve a heart-stopping volume of sour cream.
If it also could be fast and easy to assemble, even better. Because face it, we need all the help we can to manage the chaos of cleaning and cooking that ensues any time company comes. Especially during the holidays.
Which is how I came up with this easy sweet potato dip spiked with chipotle peppers. Cooked sweet potatoes are blended with almonds, garlic, lemon juice, chipotle peppers and classic chili seasonings for a rich and creamy dip. Serve it with pretzels, tortilla chips, toasted baguette rounds, carrot sticks or hunks of flatbread.
This dip also is easy to dress up. Spoon it into a bowl, then top it with finely diced red onion, chopped scallions, a pinch of smoked paprika and even a dollop of sour cream.
This recipe also is incredibly versatile. If you have leftover roasted potatoes (sweet or otherwise), use those and just skip the cooking part. Or consider substituting steamed or roasted carrots for some of the sweet potatoes. The almonds also can be replaced with roasted peanuts or cashews.
SPICY SWEET POTATO DIP
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes 3 1/2 cups
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup toasted almonds
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (more or less, to taste)
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Place the sweet potato chunks in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add several tablespoons of water, then microwave on high until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the cooked sweet potato, almonds, chipotle pepper, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika and cumin. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until completely smooth. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready. If refrigerated, let come to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition information per 1/4 cup serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 80 calories; 60 calories from fat (68 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 85 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.