WINE WITH…Thai Style Curried Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
Leftover sweet potatoes have been on my mind recently. My guess is that sweet potatoes are the most common food leftover from holiday dinners this
time of year and in my experience they are also the most difficult thing to turn into an appetizing new dish. Unlike leftover mashed potatoes, which can reemerge in dozens of tasty new treatments (potato pancakes anyone?), or turkey, which can be reborn as a soup or a sandwich, the options for sweet potatoes are more limited. If they’ve been subjected to the holiday marshmallow treatment, I personally wouldn’t bother trying to find a new life for leftover sweet potatoes…but otherwise there are a few options available, Thai-style curry among them. In fact, this dish can be so tasty that it can stand on its own independent of holidays. It’s also a fun and challenging dish to pair with wine.
Thai Style Curried Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
Unless you prefer to make your own it’s fine to use commercial Thai curry paste, which is available in most supermarkets. You could also substitute frozen spinach for the fresh. Serve with rice.
2 cooked sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in bite-sized cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
One cup thinly sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped or torn
One 14-ounce can unsweetened full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai curry paste (or more, to taste)
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Quartered limes for serving
Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and stir fry until they are soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two then add the sweet potatoes and the curry paste, stirring until ingredients are well combined. Add the spinach, the coconut milk and broth and let it all simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve with cooked rice and garnish with fresh limes.
Choosing the right wine for this dish can be challenging. Some people will claim the curried sweet potatoes are either too sweet for any wine while others might feel that the curry paste itself is too spicy to provide a cushion for the wine. On the other hand, since absolute perfection may not be a realistic goal in this instance, there are plenty of wine choices that will be fun and/or tasty with the curried yams. Sparkling wine is a traditional choice to serve with spicy food, while a rosé that edges close to sweet will also work.
Luca Bosio, Moscato d’Asti DOCG (Piedmont, Italy) 2017 ($18, Quintessential): Superbly light and refreshing, with very low alcohol (5.5%) and tiny bubbles, this gently fizzy and softly sweet wine made from Moscato Bianco grapes provides a playful partner for the sweet potatoes.
Sur le Pont, Pays D’Oc (Languedoc, France), Viognier 2017 ($18): The wine’s floral aroma’s set the stage here and the reasonably complex and fruity flavors (peaches, apricots, plums) embrace the yammy sweetness. But it is Viognier’s typical textural sensation of slight oiliness on the palate that makes this a particularly tasty wine with the dish.
Chateau La Gordonne, Côtes de Provence (France), Tête de Cuvée Rosé 2019 ($17): A little forthright fruitiness backed by refreshing acidity makes this rosé a sprightly companion to the food, and like all the wines that partnered will with the dish this one was notably fresh and fragrant.