Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Aioli

Lindsay Kucera/The AS Review

Well gang, it’s that time of the year again!  With the fall season comes the chaos of school, moving in and settling into the rhythm of classes. But don’t forget! Autumn is also a time of harvest, which this foodie admits to taking for granted for most of her life. Recently I’ve developed a new appreciation for harvest time and I owe it all to sweet potatoes. These orange beauties have just the right amount of sweetness and nothing goes better with sugar than spice. I love chipotle, so this seemed like the perfect time to make a sweet and spicy snack.

A word to the wary: this cheapskate chef is a college student too. I don’t want cooking to break my budget any more than yours. So, I will include my budget for each recipe as well as the number servings so you know what you’re getting yourself into. I will add, however, that I buy organic (which costs more) whenever possible and that spices can be expensive at first but will last you quite awhile. The total prices are estimates based on weight.

Costs: About $15
Makes six servings

To make the fries:

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and washed
1tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges about one-third of an inch thick, place in a mixing bowl, adding the canola oil and tossing to coat. In a small bowl, mix all the spices. The amount of spice you add depends on personal taste, so add more or less as you see fit. Spread the fries flat on a tinfoil-covered baking sheet (for easy clean-up!) and place on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet (carefully!) and sprinkle the spice blend over the fries. Turn the fries over and sprinkle the reverse side.  Place the fries back in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once. The fries will be golden brown on the edges when fully cooked.

To make the aioli:

2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
½ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
3-6 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper, lemon to taste

For some reason, when dishes look difficult to pronounce, we assume they’re difficult to make. Rest assured, aioli (eh-oh-lee), essentially a thick garlic dressing, is relatively easy to make and definitely delicious.  Place the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a mixing bowl and blend well with a whisk. Measure out the two oils in a measuring cup (Note: you can use all olive oil if you prefer, but the flavor will be richer). While whisking the eggs and mustard, slowly pour the oil into the mixture. Whisk thoroughly until thick.  The mix should be creamy. Set aside.

Place the garlic cloves and sea salt in a small bowl and smash the garlic to form a paste. (I used the handle of a wooden spoon to act in place of a mortar and pestle.) When the paste is fairly smooth, mix it with the rest of the dressing. Feel free to add salt, pepper or lemon to suit your taste. The aioli will keep in the fridge for up to five days. In addition to being delicious with the fries, it also goes beautifully on sandwiches, or can be mixed with vinegar to make a salad dressing.

Now, get out and nom!

To nom or not to nom?

This recipe was adapted in part from the Stonewall Kitchen.