Monday, February 23, 2015

International Cooking Challenge: New Zealand - Kumara (Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad)

Tonight, we embarked on our newest adventure, the International Cooking Challenge.  Our first randomly chosen stop was New Zealand.

I decided to follow in the foot steps of my friend Sasha from Global Table Adventures, and I made my take on Kumara - a Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad.  It sounded like a good idea.  It's the depth of winter here in Vermont, but it's summer in New Zealand.  I had to fake the grilling with my stovetop grill pan, but I think it did a pretty good job.

While we ate, we listened to traditional Maori music from New Zealand on Spotify.  I visited the wikipedia site for New Zealand and shared some interesting facts with the kids.  They were most interested that people who live in New Zealand are called Kiwis, and that there are more species of penguins in New Zealand than anywhere else.

I made a couple of changes in the recipe that Sasha made.  I doubled the recipe so that I would have leftovers for lunches.  I used a pound of bacon ends and pieces for the salad.  No wonder it was delicious!  The store was also out of green onions today, so I simply used half a yellow onion, and sauteed it up briefly in bacon fat.  Because I had all of that lovely bacon fat, I also used it on the sweet potatoes and omitted the salt.

Overall, I loved this recipe and would make it again in a second.  It would be a whole lot quicker on an outdoor grill.  I had to cook the sweet potatoes in small batches on my grill pan, and that took a while.  This would be a great dish to take to a potluck.  It will be as delicious chilled as it was warm.

The Girl also loved the Kumara, but The Boy didn't care for the sweet potatoes very much.  Of course he loved the bacon, and he still ate the whole thing.  I'd call that a win.

Now, for the recipe!

Kumara: Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad
(modified from Global Table Adventure)

1 lb bacon (I used ends and pieces, but you could use any bacon)
6 sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 yellow onion

1/4 c whole grain mustard
1/4 c vinegar
1/4 c honey
1/2 c vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste

Crisp the bacon up in a pan, reserving bacon fat.  Drain bacon well and chop coarsely.

Slice sweet potatoes into 1/2" slices.  Heat a grill pan on medium heat, and brush with some bacon fat.

Put a layer of sweet potatoes on the grill pan, and brush the top with a little more bacon fat.  Grill for ~5 minutes on each side, until sweet potatoes are a little soft and they have nice grill marks.  Remove to a large bowl, and repeat with additional sweet potatoes.

Dice the onion.  Saute the onion in a very small amount of bacon fat until soft and translucent.  Remove from the pan and add to the sweet potatoes. Stir the bacon into the mixture.

Add all ingredients for the dressing to a large ball jar or your blender.  Shake or blend until well combined.  (I ended up using my stick blender - that worked very well).  Add dressing to the sweet potato mixture and stir well to coat.

Serve and enjoy your small culinary trip to New Zealand!

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  1. I have a recipe for sweet potato bacon salad that doesn't require the grilling, but this does look appetizing!

    1. I bet that the sweet potatoes could be roasted, too.. I think the dressing is really the star of this dish - the dressing, and the bacon, of course!