Sweet Potato Home fries

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: the three square meals of the day, each meant to keep you energized, fueled, and able to carry out all your daily tasks. Oh, they can be pretty tasty, if you play your cards right, but in the end I find they're all quite practical, all fulfilling a certain measured purpose to keep you going. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner aside, of course, there are those other sort of non-essential meals, which are more treat than necessity. There's dessert, for starters, whose sole purpose is to reward the palate with something sweet, chocolate-y, or buttery, an indulgent add-on. There's snack, that in-between-meals filler, something extra, sometimes consumed even when there isn't any hunger to keep at bay (afternoon taralli are a good example of this!). And then there is my very, very favorite of all: brunch. 

Ahh, brunch! It's a meal eaten out of of luxury rather than practicality, usually on the weekend, when you've slept in and not bothered to turn your alarm on. Brunch is a big deep edible breath after a long week, one that presents the occasion to eat pancakes and omelets and bacon and other such dishes that you'd be hard-pressed to have time to make on a weekday morning. It is irreverent, rebellious in a way, breaking the usual 3 Square Meal Rules, combining savory and sweet with abandon, compressing two meals in to one, and respecting no real schedule, all because it can, that's why! 

So, to today's brunch recipe, or rather, sweet potato home fries, a riff on your classic home fries. For the non-Americans who might be reading: home fries are potatoes, peeled, diced and fried in a little oil or butter or both, the cousin of the equally delicious hash browns (we in America like our breakfast potatoes). I order them every time I go out for breakfast in the U.S, accompanied by scrambled eggs, toast, and a good helping of leisure and relaxation. These home fries are made with a mix of colorful, bright, and may I add nutritious sweet potatoes, their sweetness tempered nicely by a few mild, crisp, and perfectly golden brown Yukon potatoes. Red peppers and onions add a little complexity to the dish -- no bite here is the same -- and thyme and oregano, the last additions to the party, keep things extra flavorful. From recent experience, I can attest that a big pan of these are fantastic on a lazy Sunday morning, especially when they're accompanied by multi-grain cinnamon pancakes with abundant maple syrup and a couple of strips of bacon (thank god tomorrow is the weekend).

A couple of notes: I got lazy with the chopping and put the onion and red pepper in my food processor to make my work a little quicker, then unfortunately got a bit carried away -- don't chop your onion and red pepper as fine as I did! They should be left a bit chunky (though if you do over-chop, the flavor will be just fine). Feel free to add a jalapeño pepper in here to make things a little spicy, switch up the herbs if you want, or to add a little pancetta to make this more substantial. Add a fried egg on top of these home fires to make an excellent sweet potato and egg hash. Finally, I used 3 Yukon potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes; use however many of each you want, depending on your tastes/whether or not you can find sweet potatoes where you are 
(they're quite rare in Rome, but I am happy to say that the vegetable stand across the street from my apartment always has them -- hurray!)

Looking for some other brunch-appropriate recipes? Allow me to suggest these Bagels, this French Toast, these Pancakes, this Ricotta Pound Cake, this Chocolate Loaf Cake, this Strawberry Jam Crostata, this homemade Hot Chocolate, these Maritozzi, this Gingerbread, these Orange Glazed Poppy seed Muffins, these Basic Waffles, or these Banana Pecan WafflesProsciutto, Egg, and Cheese Waffles, this Frittata with Spinach and Potatoes, this Frittata di Spaghetti con Asparagi, this Greek Panzanella, this Nectarine, Prosciutto, and Burrata Salad, or these Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Shortcakes, among a few others you'll find in the handy dandy blog Recipe Index

SWEET POTATO HOME FRIES 

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and diced
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ­inch dice
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ­inch dice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 
In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes, seasoning with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Remove to a separate plate.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, then add the potatoes, oregano, thyme, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. 
Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the peppers and onion back to the pan, and stir to heat everything through. Serves 4.
Barely adapted from www.epicurious.com.

















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