Pancetta-Filled Sweet Potato Pancakes with Chipotle Maple Walnuts

Sweet. Spicy. Tart. Salty. All four flavors interplay dynamically in this leftovers recipe, perfect for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when you may find yourself hosting big family brunches or an impromptu visit with friends. This is a light, lovely pancake batter, made even better with crisped Italian bacon. Every bite is a wonderful surprise, with not-quite-sour flavor from a dribble of apple sauce, which I made and froze months ago, and a little bit of heat from chipotle in the walnuts. You could serve simply with maple syrup, but the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts. I highly recommend this one. You seriously have to do it. This recipe came together from the shallows of my imagination plus a few Google searches, and I really didn’t know if it would work. But it did! The pancetta cooked nicely, and nobody is getting trichinosis, hurray! Don’t you love seeing the word “trichinosis” on a food blog? Yes! You do!

Pancetta-Filled Sweet Potato Pancakes with Chipotle-Maple Walnuts

Ingredients

For the chipotle maple walnuts:

  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • sprinkle of salt

For the pancakes:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons melted butter
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • thinly sliced pancetta rounds, 1 per pancake
  • Unsweetened applesauce or apple compote, to serve

Method:

For the chipotle maple walnuts:

In a hot skillet over medium heat, combine walnuts, syrup and spices, stirring frequently for three minutes. Snack on walnuts while you prepare pancakes.

For the pancakes:

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients (except pancetta) until well-combined. On a griddle over medium heat, place pancetta on griddle, and weigh with pan or press with spatula to prevent curling. When pancetta browns on one side, about three minutes, flip rounds. Immediately ladle pancake mix on top of cooking pancetta. Cook pancake until edges begin to brown and pancakes become bubbly,  about two minutes. Flip pancakes and finish cooking, approximately one minute more.

Drizzle pancakes with applesauce, apple compote, or maple syrup. Sprinkle with candied walnuts. Serve with a glass of milk for a completely awesome, totally wholesome holiday brunch.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original “Insiders,” for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

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