Baked Sweet Potatoes stuffed with cranberries, pears and pecans
8 red skinned sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup dried cranberries
4 TBS (1/2 stick) of butter
2 large firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup of pecans, coarsely chopped
4 tsp of minced peeled fresh ginger
4 tsp (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tsp plus 1 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line baking sheet with foil. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet and bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with fork about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place cranberries in small bowl and pour enough hot water over to cover. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Drain well. Melt 2 TBS of butter in large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add pears and saute until tender and golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in cranberries, pecans, ginger and brown sugar and saute for an additional minute. Mix in 2 tsp of vinegar and 1/2 tsp of salt.
Cut off top 1/4 of each potato lengthwise, discard tops. Using a fork, gently mash pulp inside each potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 2 TBS butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 TBS vinegar. Drizzle about 1 tsp of vinegar-butter mixture into each potato and mix with fork to blend.
Mound cranberry mixture in sweet potatoes. Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. To rewarm, place in 350 oven for about 20 minutes until reheated through.