It began as a salad. The fiancée and I picked out this wonderful looking salad from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday, and followed everything to a "t" until the very last step. We were patient as the red onions browned for ages, and the sweet potatoes cooked. But as soon as we pulled off the lid to the completed meal we were just way too hungry to wait for everything to cool—the hot sweet potatoes made a very poor match for crisp lettuce. It was our own fault.
Fortunately, the sweet potatoes were incredible by themselves and when wrapped up in corn tortillas, provided a perfectly filling meat-free meal. The secret is that the sweet potatoes cook with the guajillo chile dressing, soaking up all the spiciness. The dish is balanced by the sweet caramelized red onions. If you don’t have the salad you’ll end up with some extra dressing, but that’s okay. We used the leftover dressing to make this dish again the next day for lunch.
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
In a skillet set over medium heat, pour in the canola oil. When hot, add the chiles and garlic. Cook until they are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
Remove only the chilies and toss in a blender with the vinegar. Process until chiles are broken up. When the oil and garlic have cooled somewhat, about five minutes, add the oil and garlic until the blender. Process until smooth. Season with salt.
Set the same skillet over medium heat, add a little oil if there is none left, and toss in the red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 9 minutes, or until nicely caramelized. Toss in the sweet potatoes and half of the dressing. Stir together and then cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until sweet potato is soft.
It can be eaten immediately as a filling for tacos, or left to cool and tossed with lettuce and the rest of the dressing. Either is delicious.