“Thanksgiving for me, is a time to pause and give gratitude to my community, local and global. It is about being present and proud, respecting the many hands that bring nourishment into my life.
While santom/abrodwomaa is generally the Ghanaian name for sweet potatoes, a pretty common sight in markets and kitchens, in the northern region of Ghana the orange-fleshed variety most of us are familiar with has been christened alafie wuljo in the local language of Dagbani, meaning ‘healthy potato’. This is because it has been introduced relatively recently through a USAID project to counter vitamin A deficiency, and has proven a big hit. Here’s just one of many ways to spin a roasted sweet potato.” – Zoe Adjonyoh
4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
olive oil, for drizzling
3 red peppers
1 red onion, diced
1 red Scotch bonnet chili, deseeded and diced
1 bunch of spinach, shredded
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon Ghanaian Five-spice Mix (see below)
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons creme fraiche (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Start by placing the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil, zigzagging it across the potatoes. Bake for 20- 25 minutes until they are soft in the middle.
3. Place the red peppers on a separate baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake alongside the potatoes for about 20 minutes until soft.
4. While the potatoes and peppers are baking, coat the base of a saucepan with olive oil, add the onion and saute over a medium heat for a few minutes until transparent.
5. Stir in the chili, spinach and garlic, season with the Five-spice Mix and ½ teaspoon sea salt and cook until the spinach has slightly softened.
6. Remove the roasted red peppers and sweet potatoes from the oven. Shred the peppers, discarding the cores and seeds, and add to the spinach mixture, then stir in most of the chopped cilantro.
7. Using a sharp knife, make an incision down the middle of each sweet potato (without going all the way through or touching either end), then push it gently so that the hole opens up. Take a large spoonful of the spinach mixture and gently push into the hole, but you want some of the mixture to remain on the outside. Place a tablespoonful of creme fra1che (if using) on top with a little chopped cilantro. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and serve on a small bed of arugula on a plate.
TIP: Use a fork to pierce the roasted sweet potatoes to test that they’re light and fluffy inside.
Ghanaian Five-spice Mix
4 tablespoons ground cubeb pepper
1 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg 2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and use within a few months.