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This past summer I picked up a couple pots of sweet potato slips for the garden at a road side stand.
Before this summer, I had never grown sweet potatoes and I could have never imagined just how many sweet potatoes I would yield come fall from those two little plastic pots. Just about two months ago, my husband and I unearthed one hundred and fifty pounds of sweet potatoes from under the full and winding vines that grew from those slips.
A success. Yes.
But, oh my goodness. Over a hundred pounds of sweet potatoes!?
So, now that the potatoes have cured, we are on a mission. A mission to eat sweet potatoes as often as we can this winter so that they don’t go to waste.
This may seem pretty easy thanks to the fact that it is the Holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are plenty of traditional sweet potato dishes. The issue? A lot of these dishes add even more sweetness to the already sweet sweet potatoes.
I prefer breaking tradition and taking a more savory route when preparing sweet potatoes. Thankfully there are so many ways to do this with sweet potatoes in main dishes, sides, and even snacks and appetizers.
And, just as predictable as sweet sweet potato dishes at the holidays are: Holiday get-togethers. I find that this time of year these get-togethers can run the gamut from planned event, complete with mailed invitations, to spur of the moment cocktails.
I am the kind of girl where my home is always open (… and so is a bottle of wine) and because of this I like to try to keep little snacks on hand all the time. Especially in December. Nuts, hummus, crackers, and cheese are my staples, but with all the sweet potatoes and other great root vegetables, like beets from my garden stored in my basement, I also like to make another on of my favorite snacks: Homemade Root Vegetable Chips (aka Homemade Terra© Chips)!
When I get these from the store the bag is lucky to make it home without getting opened (and consumed) in the car. Root vegetable chips are my thing and they are addicting. Plus, you can feel pretty good about them because they are vegetables, but you don’t feel like you are eating vegetables.
But, oh my gosh. They are expensive!
Fortunately, these chips are incredibly simple to recreate at home without any risk of altering their addictive nature. The ingredients can also be interchangeable based on what you have at the time: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and beets are my favorites but, just sweet potato chips are great, too!
The most challenging thing about the whole process is making sure that the chips are sliced very thin. A mandolin is great and can help make the vegetables easy to cut, but if the slicer is any more thick than 1/16 of an inch it will be hard for the chips to crisp up. While it is more time consuming, I feel like I get thin slices of each vegetable best on my own with a quality sharp chef’s knife.
Root vegetable chips keep well, sealed in the pantry for about a week so that they are easy for you to grab quickly if some one stops by for a cup of cheer, you are asked to bring a snack to a party, or you just need a quick pick me up after an afternoon of shopping, wrapping, baking, caroling, or whatever else December calls for!
- 1 Russet Potato
- 3 Red Beets
- 2 Sweet Potatoes
- 2 Parsnips
- About 20 ounces of bacon fat...or some other type of frying oil, fat, or lard. (Editor Note: You have to check out the amazing pastured fat options from my friends over at Fat Works.)
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Wash all vegetables and remove ends or stems. Peel if desired. (I leave skins on, where more nutrients are found!)
- Heat fat in a large cast iron skillet, deep pot, or dutch oven over medium heat. Be cautious to not have the heat on too high to prevent burning.
- Slice the vegetable into very thin slices. 1/16 of an inch is desired for the best crispy chip.
- Once fat is heated up (Fat should crackle and bubble up when a vegetable slice is placed in the skillet or pot), place slices in a single layer into pot or skillet in batches. (Be aware, beets can dye the fat giving the other vegetables an undesired color. Start with white vegetables and move onto colored ones.)
- Using tongs or a slotted spatula, flip the vegetables to cook thoroughly.
- Remove the chips using tongs or a slotted spatula and place on a paper towel lined plate or pan. Sprinkle with salt right away.
- Continue process with the remaining vegetables in batches.
- Once cool place in a large serving bowl and eat right away or place in a bag and keep for a few days.
Easy, nutritious, and delicious, wouldn’t you say? Perfect for any gathering (even one on your own couch)!