I’ve been a longtime proponent of using a waffle iron for non-traditional waffles and beyond for a while, now. I forget from where, but at some point, I got it in my head that hash browns are best made in a waffle iron, and I never looked back. Oh, look, here’s a vintage tweet from me about it (2012 is vintage in Internet time, right?). And, I mean, I still am on board — easy, crispy, hash browns that don’t use half the bottle of oil are within your reach given you have this weird semi-niche appliance.
But I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. Let’s liberate our waffle irons and un-niche them. I like to waffle tofu to give it some quick texture, and waffling rice makes tons of my favorite “stuck pot” style rice. Interestingly, I actually have not made traditional waffles in my waffle iron… but maybe someday.
Here’s something that got pretty close. Loosely inspired by the oddly-named bubble and squeak, a British dish that dresses up leftover mashed potatoes (Who ever has leftover mashed potatoes? Not me.), I decided to make savory sweet potato waffles, which improves on this recipe for me in a couple ways. First, sweet potatoes, duh. And second, the waffle shape maximizes the surface area of the crispy outside… and also the nonstick coating on many waffle irons makes it a cinch to get crisp outsides, which I admit I find challenging using a normal pan. Scallions add freshness and flavor, and cheese adds salty and gooey pockets. The sweet potatoes hold together well, so not much flour is needed. Eggs really help bind waffles, but if you don’t mind if they fall apart a little, you could omit or decrease the quantity.
Sweet potato, scallion, and cheese waffles
Inspired by Serious Eats
3 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes
small handful of cheddar (or similar) cheese, grated
2 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup of all-purpose flour
vegetable oil, for brushing the waffle iron
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375˚F. While oven is heating, vigorously scrub the sweet potatoes and pat dry. Then, pierce them a few times, evenly with a fork. Lightly rub with vegetable oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet (in case they leak/drip), and bake until they are tender. The time it takes will depend on their size, but it should be between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
When potatoes are done, let them cool a little bit. When they are cool enough to handle, remove about half of the peel (I left some for flavor/texture/nutrition), dump into a bowl, and mash. Allow the mash to cool.
Mix together mash, eggs, scallions, flour, salt, and pepper. The amount of flour you need will vary depending on the texture of your sweet potatoes. You want just enough so that the batter isn’t soggy. Add cheese last and mix in gently.
Heat up your waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron instructions. This made 5 waffles in my standard iron. Serve immediately.