Sweet Potato Fillings

One of the suggested fillings for Venezuelan arepas is sweet potato, which seems to be typically sliced and then just sautéed on the stovetop until cooked. That takes a while stirring, though, especially if you’re cooking in bulk for a large crowd.

I ended up roasting them instead (toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast at 400F in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes), which freed up my time to cook other things while they were going — when making large quantities (this is 8 sweet potatoes), roasting is a huge boon to efficiency.

One of the things I learned when working on the Sri Lankan cookbooks is that relatively few of our dishes involve roasting, which makes sense if you think about it — in a tropical country, even if you had an oven (which a lot of village folks didn’t, I suspect), you wouldn’t want to run it at high heat for very long! So pan-frying makes sense.

And the result is a little different, of course, so I can’t claim this is completely authentic to Venezuelan cuisine, but hopefully it’s close enough for happy taste buds. I thought it was delicious, and a really excellent pairing for the pulled pork. My kids still don’t like sweet potatoes, which bewilders me — I’ll convert them someday, though!

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