Seared Sweet Potatoes with Merguez and Radicchio

I turned 39 this week.  Hoo-boy.  I only have one year left in my thirties!  All of a sudden I feel an  anxious eagerness to pack in as many things as I can before turning 40.  I’m not sure why. There has never been a better time to be 40, really.  But for whatever reason, in my mind–and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way–there is a dividing line between everything pre-40 and post-40.  40 means adulthood for real.   Like, if you don’t have your shit figured out by the time you hit 40, well, now you’re just that 40-year-old who never got their shit together.  Maybe I’m being too harsh on 40-year-olds?  Regardless, I feel pretty damn good about where I am in my life as a 39-year-old.  So I will try and focus on that in the coming year, and not dread the big 4-0 staring me down.

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I innocently made this recipe, adapted from Food & Wine, a few weeks ago, and had no idea just how obsessed with it I would become over the course of several days.  I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and garlic, and you get a nice dose of both of them in this recipe.  But you also are treated to the deep flavor of merguez, bitter radicchio and sweet pecans, forming a sweet, sweet symphony in your mouth. You must make this recipe today.  I can’t image anyone not loving this dish.

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Seared Sweet Potatoes with Merguez and Radicchio

Garlicky, roasted sweet potatoes are paired with bitter radicchio, rich merguez sausage, crunchy pecans, and sweet pomegranate molasses. A super flavorful dish that is also healthy!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine French, North African

Ingredients
  

Sweet Potatoes and Nuts

  • 1 garlic clove finely grated
  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes scrubbed
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pecans chopped

Sausage and Assembly

  • 1 head radicchio leaves separated and torn into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. merguez sausage casings removed
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp. Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup plain sheep's-milk or Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

Sweet Potatoes and Nuts

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix garlic and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.  Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and rub with half of garlic oil; set remaining garlic oil aside.
  • Season with salt and roast on a rimmed baking sheet, turning once, until flesh is soft and yielding, 45-55 minutes.  Remove from oven; reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
  • Toss pecans and remaining 1/2 tsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt.  Toast, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8-10 minutes.
  • Let sweet potatoes cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise.  Brush cut sides with reserved garlic oil.  Heat a large heavy skillet over medium.
  • Cook sweet potatoes, cut side down, pressing lightly with a spatula, until browned and charred in spots, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and reserve skillet.

Sausage and Assembly

  • Place radicchio in a large bowl.  Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet over medium-high.
  • Cook sausage, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Stir in Aleppo pepper.  Transfer meat to a plate with a slotted spoon and pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat from skillet.
  • Reduce heat to medium.  Combine pomegranate molasses, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water in skillet, stirring to combine and scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often , until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, then drizzle over radicchio.  Add reserved sausage and toss to coat; season with salt.
  • Mix yogurt and remaining 1 tsp. oil in a small bowl, thinning with a little water to make pourable; season with salt.  Divide yogurt among plates and top with sweet potatoes.
  • Arrange sausage mixture over, along with any pan juices.  Top with pecans.
Keyword merguez, pecans, radicchio, sweet potato

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