This has become one of my favorite get-together snack foods for casual events. Delicious! It has all my favorite flavors: sweet, salty, spicy, smokey and tangy. For added zest, you can dust with a bit of cayenne. I used a chipotle rubbed old smoked Cheddar that was wonderful in this recipe.
|6||small, rounded, evenly shaped sweet potatoes (13-16 cm in length), cleaned and trimmed at tips|
|18||rashers of Schneiders smoked bacon - thin slice (three per potato)|
|12||large Kalamata olives, halved and pitted to yield 24 halves (2 olives per potato)|
|12||small, sweet grape tomatoes, whole ( two per potato)|
|12||smallish slices (about the length of the potato) of smoked old Canadian cheddar (2 per potato)|
|6||sprigs of fresh thyme|
Wrap whole sweet potatoes in foil. Bake in a preheated oven at high heat for 15-20 minutes or until almost soft. Alternately, microwave at high, unwrapped/without foil, for 4 minutes. Remove and cool to handling temperature.
Slice the top of each potato from end to end, lengthwise. Scoop out a small amount of the potato and push open the potato to leave a shallow envelope-like opening in the center.
Place one piece of cheese on each side (2 pieces per potato) of the sweet potato envelope/boat. Then place one branch of fresh thyme at the bottom.
Alternating, place four pieces of olive and two whole grape tomatoes into each hollow. Place the remaining sweet potato flesh, that was scooped out, back over top of the other ingredients.
Tightly wrap up each sweet potato bundle with three slices of raw bacon so that the whole potato and its contents are completely wrapped. Only the tips of the sweet potatoes should be seen.
Place each piece on a baking sheet and cook for about 15-20 minutes at medium in the preheated oven, - or until the tomatoes and cheese begin to burst out of the bacon wrapping and the bacon is crisped up. The sweet potatoes should be soft.
Each potato should be a hearty three or four bites and can be eaten by hand. Serve with napkins.
This dish can be prepared on the grill as well, provided you use foil to preserve moisture.
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