Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb and Eggplant Picadillo

Picture courtesy of Lala López – a fashion and art blogger that should be in your radar!

I have a confession to make.

I live in Puerto Rico and I visited José Enrique’s flagship restaurant at la Placita de Santurce for the first time a month ago.  The restaurant has been operating non stop since 2007.  The lines have not thinned out since then.  It took friends visiting from Boston and the ‘it’s Tuesday, how bad can the wait be’ reasoning to get me to Calle Duffaut.

The food is that good.  And totally worth waiting an hour and a half for a table on a Tuesday at 6:30pm.  If I’ve stood/sat line for fried chicken in Savannah and Shack-burgers in Madison Square Park… believe me that the smoked carne frita bites, minutas, fried corvina chunks and carne guisada from a local James Beard Foundation award finalist are worthier of the ‘sacrifice’.

A few days before going to the restaurant, I had received the September issue of Food & Wine magazine.  Who was featured in the issue? Yep, José Enrique.  An alum of the 2013 Best New Chef class of the magazine, the main article in the magazine featured the restaurant in Santurce and the plans for El Blok, his boutique hotel in Vieques.  The feature also included his twist on many Puerto Rican recipes.  It was amazing to see a recipe for arroz con pollo – made with light beer, like mine –  grace the pages of Food & Wine.

Other recipes from the article include:

This is probably the best representation of modern Puerto Rican cooking online and in print available at this time.  I plan to continue cooking my way through this feature in the next few weeks.

Sweet potatoes stuffed with lamb and eggplant picadillo

That last recipe in the list, the lamb and eggplant and feta stuffed plantains, was the one that piqued my curiosity the most.   I love sweet and salty entrees and there are not many Puerto Rican recipes that feature lamb.

The inspiration behind the recipe is the plantain canoa.  For ‘canoes’, ripe plantains are baked or fried until cooked through.  A slit is cut lengthwise and the plantain is overstuffed with savory picadillo, a ground beef hash with cooked with tons of sofrito.  Local cheese is grated on top for additional salty contrast.  I had to make some swaps to accommodate the lack of overripe yellow plantains (and E’s feelings about them).  Sweet potatoes also provide a good contrast to the savory lamb and eggplant picadillo.   I really liked that the stuffed sweet potatoes were more filling than the plantain version – perfect for lunch on those extra-long days.

lamb and eggplant picadillo

Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb/Eggplant Picadillo and Feta
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Adapted from José Enrique Montes via Food & Wine magazine
Servings
4
Servings
4
Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb/Eggplant Picadillo and Feta
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Adapted from José Enrique Montes via Food & Wine magazine
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast for an hour or until easily pierced with a knife. Let the potatoes cool enough for easier handling
  2. While the sweet potatoes roast, heat the olive oil. Sweat the tomatoes, onion, green peppers, garlic and sofrito over low heat for ten minutes.
  3. Season the ground lamb with salt, pepper and cumin. Add to the pan and cook thoroughly for about eight minutes. Add the cilantro and set the mixture aside.
  4. Split the sweet potatoes in halves and scoop about 1/2 inch of flesh off. Stuff the potatoes with the ground lamb mix and top with feta. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking dish and heat in the oven for about ten minutes or until the cheese melts. Garnish with extra cilantro.

And on a cool note… check out the fourth name in the Instagram likes for the dish.  There were happy dances and high fives later that night.

Jose enrique lamb and eggplant picadillo

 

 

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

3 Responses to “Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb and Eggplant Picadillo”

  1. September 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Adriana, This dish not only sounds delectable, but looks incredibly mouthwatering!

    • September 25, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      It was so awesome it snapped me out of my blog rut 🙂

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  1. French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Chayote with Garlic - Great Food 360˚ - October 17, 2014

    […] the picture.  These are traditionally cooked into stews or stuffed with picadillo, not unlike the sweet potatoes I made recently.  To prepare the chayotes for roasting, I sliced them lengthwise, peeled the skin […]

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