Sweet Potato and Lardon Tacos
There’s not much I won’t put in a tortilla.
This comes with plenty of early training. I think I came home from fourth grade and everyday made a peanut butter and jelly ‘sandwich’ in a cold flour tortilla. It took me a few months to navigate how to keep the precious filling from slipping out the end after biting through the tightly rolled peanut butter burrito. It took me another few weeks to figure out that tortillas don’t work well in a toaster, but do fair well over the flame of the stove burner.
But, we’re here to talk about other tortilla things now that I’ve mastered what to put in a tortilla and how to get it in my face.
Sweet potato and bacon tacos. They could be dinner, they could be lunch, maybe add some scrambled eggs and call them breakfast. These are deeply versatile, thus very exciting!
There are two small challenges to this very simple dish.
The first is dicing the sweet potatoes into relatively uniform small cubes. Sweet potatoes are notoriously wonky in shape so the cubes can be daunting but I’m sure that our best efforts will work out just fine.
The second is lardon. Do you know what lardons are? They’re slab bacon, or unsliced pork belly sliced into thick batons, creating pieces of both fat and meat that cook up to crispy little bacon nuggets.
We’ll also need:
• grated jack cheese
• green onions and pickled jalapenos
• whole cumin seeds + salt, pepper and olive oil
We’ll start by roasting the sweet potatoes. I use a nonstick rimmed baking sheet but you can also line a baking sheet with parchment paper to keep the potatoes from sticking.
To the sweet potatoes we’ll add olive oil. Ghee would also be delicious!
Salt and pepper, as you might expec-t and the potatoes go in the oven for an initial bake to soften and brown.
While the potatoes roast, we’ll cook the lardons on a stovetop in a skillet. As the fat crisps, they’ll render off some of their fat. Once the fat has cooled just slightly, I toss in some whole cumin seeds and add them to the roasting potatoes for some extra flavor.
We’ll line the toasted tortillas with jack cheese and add the roasted cumin potatoes. Yup.
Crisp and cooled lardons, too!
Green onions, sliced and fresh. Pickled japalenos, spicy and right.
These are so versatile, dress them up or down as you see fit.
You might consider:
• adding goat cheese instead of jack cheese
• swapping bacon for something not so meaty like tofu or quinoa
• adding grilled onions
• adding scrambled eggs and sour cream
• And! If you don’t have pork belly to make extra thick lardons, go for thick slab bacon and cut them into the tall cube shape and carry on carry on.
Ok that’s all for now. I adore you. Taco well.
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound pork belly sliced into 1/2-inch thick batons (alternately you could use thick slab bacon cut into batons)
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- heaping 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 8 corn tortillas
- jack cheese
- diced green onions
- pickled jalapenos
- fresh cilantro
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- We'll work with the pork belly first, slice the pork belly (or thick slab bacon if you're using that) into 1/2-inch batons. That means, if the pork belly is layed out horizontally in front of you, you'll slice into it vertically creating bits that contain both fat and meat. Place the batons into the hot skillet and cook until bubbling, golden brown on all sides, and cooked through - about 5 minutes for slab bacon and 7 minutes for pork belly.
- Remove from heat and place in a paper towel lined bowl. Spoon about two tablespoons of the pork fat into a small bowl and stir cumin seeds into the pork fat. Discard the rest of the fat.
- Peel sweet potatoes, dice each potato as evenly as you can into 1/2-inch cubes. You want the potato pieces to be as uniform as possible so they cook evenly, but most sweet potatoes are a wonky shape so just do your best.
- Place the cubed sweet potatoes on a nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Add olive oil, add reserved bacon fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper - toss to coat. Place in the oven to bake until softened, about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during baking. Remove from the oven once cooked through and golden.
- Toast each of the eight tortillas over the flame of a until charred lightly on each side. If you don't have a flame on your stove, you can cook the tortillas in bit of hot oil in a skillet.
- Add a sprinkling of jack cheese, a spoonful of roasted sweet potatoes, and a few lardon pieces into each tortilla. Top with green onions, pickled jalapeños, and fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy warm!