Last night was time for black bean burgers again (we had a couple left over, stowing away in the freezer) and I wanted something different to serve with them. I've been using sweet potatoes with some frequency lately, as you may have noticed, and wanted to take them in a savory direction as a side.
Potato chips haven't seen the inside of our house in a while - it's been at least 3 years since a store-bought bag of even some kind of fancy organic root vegetable crisps made its way across the threshold, and I rarely make them because I can't be bothered to deal with all that frying business on a regular basis. But these were so easy and tasty that the potato chip hiatus may be over.
Sweet potatoes can be tricky - they tend to have a higher moisture content than regular potatoes, so sometimes they get gummy and rubbery instead of crispy. Ew.
The secret to these chips is that they take a good bit of time, though not much effort. They're worth every minute, in my opinion: the spice mixture I tossed them in made them taste like the most intensely delicious barbecue-flavored chips you've ever dreamed of, and without all the scary chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients that come with store-bought chips. In other words, watch out - these may be habit forming.
Sweet Potato Chips
1 medium-to-large sweet potato
1 tbsp. oil (I used a blend of olive and peanut)
Begin by slicing the sweet potato very thinly, using a sharp knife or a mandoline. The slices should be thin enough to be translucent, but not too delicate - between 1 and 2 mm is a good thickness to aim for. Toss the sliced potato in the oil and then arrange the slices on cookie sheets in a single layer. Place them in a 250 degree oven for a half hour; then, flip them and bake for at least another half hour. Be patient; the chips are ready when they are dry, crisp, and crinkled around the edges. Cool the chips on a baking rack, as they will continue to crisp up as they dry. Toss them in salt and spices, and serve.
Notes on this recipe: You can take a couple of shortcuts here. If you have a microwave, you can zap the slices (arranged in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate) for 3 minutes per side before putting them on a cookie sheet - this will cut your baking time by about half. Alternatively, you can par-cook them in a skillet over medium-high heat (again, single layer, flipping as necessary) until they are beginning to brown. I experimented with both of these methods and in the end couldn't tell the difference between the oven chips and those that had been started in the microwave or skillet.
The spice mixture I used to make these deliciously barbecue-y was mostly sea salt (two pinches) with a generous pinch of sugar, equal parts (two heavy dashes) onion powder and smoked paprika, and one dash of garlic powder. These would be amazing with just salt and pepper, or cinnamon sugar, or wherever your imagination takes you. One sweet potato makes enough chips for two adults.