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Sweet potatoes are sauteed with pineapple and dates for a deliciously different side dish. The dish may be made in advance and reheated in the oven.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes


  • 8 sweet potatoes (about 6 pounds)
  • 1 unripe pineapple
  • 15 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 (3 inches) cinnamon stick
  • 8 to 10 whole cloves
  • 1 or 2 dried red chile peppers (optional)
  • 1 pound pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter
  • 5 to 6 ounces dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-1/2-inch cubes. Keep covered with cold water until ready to use.

Cut off and discard the top of the pineapple. Wash and dry the fruit. Cut off the bottom and trim off the skin all around. Put the bottom and skin in a small stockpot. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters; remove the core and add to the skin in the stockpot. Cut the pineapple into 1-1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

In the pot containing the skin, bottom, and core of the pineapple, combine the juniper berries, cinnamon stick, cloves, hot peppers, if using, and 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve or strainer. Press the skin against the walls of the sieve or strainer to squeeze out all the juices. Discard the skin. You should have 6 cups of stock. If not, add enough water to make 6 cups.

Pour 2 cups of the fruit stock into the jar of an electric blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Add half the chopped dates and blend thoroughly. Add 2 more cups of the stock and the remaining dates and blend until the mixture is totally smooth.

In a saute pan large enough to hold the sweet potato cubes comfortably, heat the clarified butter over high heat. Add the pineapple cubes and cook them until they are golden brown all around. With a slotted spoon, remove them to a plate. Set aside.

Add the blended dates to the same pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the remaining 2 cups of fruit stock and stir. Drain the sweet potato cubes, add them to the sauce, and cook over medium heat, tightly covered, stirring gently now and then, for about 30 minutes.

Gently mix in the reserved pineapple and the dried apricots and continue cooking, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender, shaking the pan from time to time to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Remove from heat and serve piping hot, garnished with chopped walnuts.

Note: To reheat this dish, add 1/2 cup water, cover tightly, and warm in a preheated 300-degree F. oven for about 20 minutes.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Recipe Source: The Art of South American Cooking by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi (HarperCollins)
Reprinted with permission.

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