So many holidays are defined by the foods we eat on them. For me, it’s turkey and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. Ham on Christmas. Black-eyed peas and coconut cake on New Year’s Day. And on Pascha, for many years, it’s been cheese and sausage balls.

But the anti-inflammatory diet I’m on doesn’t allow cheese, and it doesn’t allow wheat, so it doesn’t allow cheese and sausage balls. So I needed to find a new Pascha treat.

I skimmed my cookbooks and scanned the internet, and I discovered a recipe for bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes. I tried it, and found that I couldn’t make them the way the recipe said to make them. It just didn’t work.

So I experimented a bit. Here’s what I came up with. These treats are maybe not as amazing as cheese and sausage balls. But they’re good. They’re very, very good.

Bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes
Bacon (regular or thin cut, not thick cut)
A large bowl of water with two or three tablespoons of lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into spears. For a large potato, cut it in half horizontally, and cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges.
  2. Dump the sweet potato wedges into the lemon water while you cut up the next potato. Then remove the previous potato wedges from the water with a slotted spoon and put them in a colander to drain.
  3. Cut the bacon slices lengthwise.
  4. Spray a broiler pan and rack with no-stick spray.
  5. Wrap each sweet potato wedge in a slice of bacon. Try to wrap it so that both ends are on the same side of the wedge. That way, you can set the wedge on the pan with the bacon ends tucked underneath. That’s easier than trying to stab the raw sweet potato with toothpicks to hold the bacon in place.
  6. As you wrap the wedges, arrange them on the rack on the broiler pan so they’re not touching each other. When you have filled the pan, cover it with a sheet of waxed paper and put it in the fridge for half an hour or overnight.
  7. When you’re ready to bake, remove the bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes from the fridge. Remove the waxed paper. If you like, you can sprinkle the wedges with a bit of cinnamon sugar or pumpkin pie spice. Or not. They’re good either way.
  8. Turn the oven to 350F and put the tray of sweet potatoes in the oven.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes. Then turn the potato wedges. Handle them gently so you don’t smash them. The sweet potatoes should be quite soft by this time.
  10. Bake another 20 minutes and check. If the bacon is brown and crispy and some of the sweet potatoes are beginning to look caramelized at the edges, they’re done. If necessary, put the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.
  11. When the bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool a bit. They firm up as they cool. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

I like these little sweet chewy bacony treats very much. I think they’ll be on my Pascha table next year, too.

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Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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