Sometimes the most chance encounter can just change your life, you know? Mark and I are at the Franklin Farmer’s Market this morning and we happen upon a woman doing a cooking demonstration. It involves sweet potatoes. Mark hates sweet potatoes. He has awful memories of them that involve marshmallows and canned pineapple. In more than 20 years of marriage, I have never cooked sweet potatoes in this house because I could not face the rejection.
But here she is. This lovely woman named Shane Kelly. With a little hot plate making Sweet Potato Lamb Hash. Mark edges closer to the demonstration and I sense an opening. “Honey,” I say tentatively, “What would you think if we made this at home?” A pause. “Maybe if I substitute half of the sweet potato with a regular potato?” Ha! I have him. I run off to buy my first sweet potato in almost a quarter of a century.
To be honest, I think what pushed Mark over the edge was the lamb. He just loves the stuff and you could mix it in with sour owl poop and he’d still wolf it down.
I must pause here to say that Shane Kelly completely fooled me. Here she is in full-on make-up and hair at 9 a.m. at a farmer’s market so I automatically concluded that she was a Southern Belle through and through. But when I visited her website, I discovered that she was raised in the Bahamas, which truly is south but not that kind of South. However, she has adapted well and, perhaps, feels as I do that she got here as quick as she could. And she’s given me a slim chance of converting Mark to sweet potatoes, so God bless her.
Well, let me just say that the Lamb and Yams (and I know there’s a difference between sweet potatoes and yams, but you wouldn’t have as catchy a title) were a huge hit.
As always, the key to a great hash is brown, brown, brown. So I sauteed the sweet potatoes first since they are so much denser than the Yukon potatoes and onions that I browned after. And the lamb – NO GRAY MEAT. Brown it until it forms a lovely crust.
So Mark sits down to eat. He takes a a bite. And he looks at me for a long, hard time. “We could have this again,” he finally says. Victory is mine.
Here is Shane’s original recipe, which for anyone who loves sweet potatoes as I do will work just fine. I am fairly positive I will sneak the original on to Mark’s plate in the not-to-distant future.
Sweet Potato Lamb Hash
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about one cup)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground lamb
1. In a 10-12 inch skillet add the olive oil, butter, potatoes, onion, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if need be.
2. Remove the sweet potato mixture from the pan and set it aside. Cover to keep warm.
3. Place the ground lamb into the same pan over medium high heat and continue to break it apart with a spatula until it is crumbled and browned.
4. Add the sweet potato mixture to the lamb and cook it over medium-low heat for another 5-10 minutes, covered. Season with more salt and pepper if need be and it’s all ready.
Just for your information, this is a copyrighted recipe but because I am totally unable to process finding the copyright symbol, you will just have to know that I had the best intentions.