Monday, October 26, 2015

22. Breakfast Tacos with Roasted Sweet Potato Hash, Eggs, and Queso Blanco Salsa


Since my evenings this past weekend were already spoken for (because it was production week for Footloose at the college), I decided it was a sign that I should make more breakfast tacos.  After all, tacos are good at any time of the day!  Also, I've already gotten a recipe or two behind because of the show, so I didn't want to miss an opportunity!

I decided to get trendy with this one.  Has anyone else noticed that sweet potato hash is a thing now?  Especially at hipster brunch places?  I thought it would make a great taco filling.  (I know, I know - I just made potato tacos.  I don't know what to say about that except that you can't really have too many root vegetables in your life.)  Since I had already established that I would be jumping on the food-trend bandwagon, I decided to top the tacos with an egg.  Doesn't everything have a fried or poached egg on it these days?

I still needed a sauce, though.  I wanted something that would add some spice, but complement the sweet potatoes.  I thought of a great queso blanco salsa that tops one of my favorite recipes from the Cafe Pasqual cookbook.  Cafe Pasqual is an amazing restaurant in Santa Fe.  I've only been there once, but I own and love both of their cookbooks.  I didn't copy the recipe exactly, but I used it as a reference.

When Steve found out that we were having sweet potato tacos topped with eggs, he was a bit skeptical.  Sweet potatoes are not his favorite vegetable (though he will eat them in the interest of food research), and he is super-picky about eggs.  He usually prefers them gently poached (runny), but said he really didn't think that would work in a taco.  I decided to try the eggs a couple of different ways.  I gently scrambled his.  I made mine over-medium, because poaching eggs just really annoys me!

Here's the recipe - read on to see how they turned out:  :)

Roasted Sweet Potato Hash Tacos with Eggs and Queso Blanco Salsa

Serves about 4 (at least 8 filling tacos)


For the sweet potato hash:

2 red sweet potatoes/yams (about 20 to 24 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
One red bell pepper, cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

For the queso blanco salsa:

2 tbsp. butter
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Hatch or Anaheim green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
One poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. smoked hot paprika

8 eggs and butter and/or oil as needed for cooking

8 to 16 corn tortillas (depending on whether you plan to double them up)

Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish

Additional hot smoked paprika, for garnish


1. Start the hash:  preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toss the sweet potatoes, red pepper, and onion in a medium bowl.  Add all of the other ingredients except the cilantro and toss to combine.  Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer and roast, stirring a time or two, until all of the vegetables are cooked through and slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan and turn the oven on broil.  Set the vegetables aside.

2. While the hash is cooking, make the salsa:  Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and chiles.  Cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until most of the liquid from the vegetables has evaporated.  Add the salt, pepper to taste and heavy cream.  Return to a simmer.  Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the mixture, along with the paprika.  Cook, stirring often, until the cream cheese is melted and the mixture is hot and bubbling.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.

3.  While the hash and salsa are cooking, prepare the tortillas to your liking.  There are a few different ways you can do this.  When I am making tacos with soft corn tortillas, I heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  I place a large sheet of aluminum foil near the pan.  I heat each tortilla in the skillet for about 30 to 60 seconds or so on each side, or until it softens and begins to brown.

After each one is done, I place it on the foil and immediately start the next one.  I stack them on top of one another as I work.  When I'm done with the whole batch, I wrap them completely in the foil and place them in a 250 degree oven until I'm ready to assemble the tacos.  They always stay hot and soft!  I would only heat as many tortillas as you are planning on eating.  You can always heat more tortillas tomorrow for leftovers!

4.  Prepare the eggs to your liking:  Scramble, fry, or poach 8 eggs until they are just the way you like them!  I'm not going to include instructions for this as eggs tend to be a personal preference thing!

5. While the eggs are cooking, pop the vegetables under the broiler for a couple of minutes to heat them back up and brown them a bit.  Watch them carefully!

6.  When all of the components are ready, assemble the tacos.  For each taco, place one or two tortillas on a plate.  If the tortillas are thin, as mine were, you should double them up.  Top with a small amount of the sweet potato hash.  Carefully add an egg.  Top with some of the queso blanco salsa and some green onions.  Sprinkle on some additional hot paprika if you wish.  Enjoy!  :)

Well, I have to say that I agree with Steve about the eggs.  A liquid yolk may not have been the best choice for this taco.  As you can see in the photos above, I tried it both ways.  The flavor was good, but my over-medium egg was just too messy for a taco.  Ha ha.  I accidentally broke one of my yolks when I cooked my eggs and that one was OK.  The yolk was cooked a little more, so it didn't fall out all over the place.

Unless you love poached eggs and know what you're getting into, I would recommend scrambled eggs or fried eggs with mostly-cooked yolks.

Steve pointed out that each taco probably did not need an entire egg.  You could probably get away with 5 or 6 scrambled eggs divided between 8 tacos - it just depends on your desired egg-to-sweet potato ratio.

I really liked these.  I knew going in that Steve was going to have to be open-minded about these.  He said they were good, and that someone who liked sweet potatoes and eggs would probably love them.  He wasn't crazy about them, but that didn't surprise me.  I thought they were delicious.  If you like the ingredients, go for it!

The queso blanco salsa is luscious and amazing.  You will want to eat it on EVERYTHING!

We both agreed that a splash of your favorite hot sauce would be a nice addition, too!  It would be a great contrast to the richness of the eggs and sauce and the sweetness of the hash.

This recipe does require some multi-tasking and also produces quite a few dirty dishes.  It seems like my breakfast and brunch tacos are always like that!  Ha ha.  Oh well.

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try it?  What did you think?  Would you go for the trendy poached egg?  I'm all ears!  :)

Thanks for reading!

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