When I was younger, I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes. They weren’t something we ate often and all I saw were the ones that people would make at Thanksgiving… a casserole that came out of a can and was topped with marshmallows. I wasn’t a fan. But, the first night my mom made real sweet potatoes – perfectly baked in the oven, topped with butter and cinnamon – I was hooked! To this day, I will always chose sweet potatoes over regular potatoes and they are probably one of my favorite foods. (Also, if you’re curious about my contribution to Thanksgiving every year… Yup, Sweet Potato Casserole! But always made from fresh sweet potatoes and never topped with marshmallows!)
It’s easy to make a meal out of sweet potatoes, they are so hearty and filling. Today’s recipe is a fall flavors version of twice baked potatoes. Instead of regular baking potatoes filled with cheese and sour cream, it’s sweet potatoes filled with cream cheese, bacon, caramelized apples and onions… It’s as good as it sounds (and smells even better)!
These are so flavorful – and a perfect fall dinner. If you have someone in your family – ahem, like my husband – who likes meat with every meal, and a few pieces of crumbled bacon won’t cut it, serve alongside some roasted chicken or pork chops.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 4-6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
- 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 Fuji or Gala apple, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup milk (any kind will work include non-dairy milk like coconut or almond)
- 4 oz cream cheese (omit this for dairy free)
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub each sweet potatoes and them poke several times with a fork. Place it directly on the oven rack and cook for about 60 minutes. It might take a little longer if the potatoes are on the larger-side.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon drippings. Or if you are cooking the bacon just for this recipe, you can chop up the bacon and cook until all the fat is rendered out, then just remove the it from the pan, carefully reserving a tablespoon or so of the bacon grease. Add apples and red onion to the bacon drippings.
- Coat everything in the bacon droppings and cook until the apples are soft. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar and good sprinkle of cinnamon. Let this mixture begin to caramelize and then remove from the heat.
- Once sweet potatoes are cool enough to touch, cut a slit down the middle and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Try to keep the potato skin all in one piece 🙂
- Add the sweet potato to another bowl with milk, cream cheese and dried thyme and start to mash it up a little bit (note: you can omit the cream cheese and add a bit more coconut or almond milk for the dairy-free version!) %http://domesticcontessa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_0371.jpg
- Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Stir in a few spoonfuls each of bacon and apple mixture.
- Carefully spoon a few good scoops of the creamy sweet potato mixture into each potato skin. Place each potato in a baking dish and spoon the rest of the apple mixture on top and sprinkle with a little more bacon.
- Bake for another 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Enjoy immediately or... I should add, these are delicious reheated for breakfast. This recipe can serve four people as a side dish or two as the main entree.