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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sweet Potatoes

Call 'em yams or sweet potatoes, they are often the heart of a thanksgiving meal, with or without marshmellows.

Where do they fit in your meal?


At 10:43 AM, Blogger julie beth said...

okay, i have strong opinions about sweet potatoes; namely, that they should be treated gently, and with respect. my recipe: cut a bunch of them in half, sprinkle with equal amounts of cinnamon and cardamom, with a pat of butter on each, then bake for an hour or so until tender.

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, us Brits that go for sweet potatoes seem to have them baked and not much else. Can someone enlighten me about what marshmellows have to do with sweet potatoes??? -Britbaby

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

In the US, the traditional preparation for sweet potatoes is to mash them, put them in a casserole with marshmallows on top, and then bake them.

Not to my taste, but it is the standard way.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Mizz Sharon said...

Sweet potatoes, in our family, is an excuse to melt a lot of butter and brown sugar in a skillet and add sweet potatoes mashing and mushing till you have a very sweet and rich mixture that is more like candy than a veggie!

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous K said...

John bakes them like baked potatoes then fills them with a mixture of butter, honey, and cinnamon. They get quite candylike and he would love mizz sharon's recipe, too.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anh said...

My in-laws, salt-of-the-earth folks from the tidewater area of Virginia, eat their sweet potatoes baked in their own jackets, with the turkey gravy, forgoing mashed potatoes. Not a dribble of butter or brown sugar or marshmallows in sight. It's not bad, actually.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous ajscotti said...

My favorite Sweet Potato recipe is with Jack Daniels.

boil & mash peeled SP. In a sauce pan melt butter, add brown sugar, and then Jack Daniels, reduce alcohol over low heat stirring so sugar does not separate
In large casserole pan mix half butter mixture w SPs put other half
on top to caramelize in oven before serving. Think I got this from Julia Child.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger texasdiver said...

My 6 month old daughter is a sweet potato addict. I've been looking at what baby foods I can make fresh and so far sweet potatoes are the biggest hit by far. I just peel and chop them, cook them for 20 minutes or so, then into the cuisinart with a little milk and butter.

Sweet potatoes have an entirely different type of starch than regular potatoes. You can whip them in a blender or cuisinart forever and they just get creamier and creamier whereas if you whip regular potatoes too much they get all gummy. The difference is the starch.

As for how best to make them for thanksgiving? I've done it a variety of ways. What I like best though, is to just cut them up and roast them in the oven on a cookie sheet with a little butter and brown sugar. Very simple. For God's sake, don't mess them up with marshmellows.

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Trystero said...

Cut into disks (a mandolin helps) and layered in a caserole with butter, baked until done. Leave the skin on!

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Jeany said...

I peel, quarter and boil 3 or 4 yams a day or 2 in advance. On T-Day, I flop a half stick of butter in a big iron skillet, and start adding brown sugar until I get a nice layer of bubbling syrup going over medium heat, then I add potatoes in a layer and start turning the pieces and spooning up syrup until they're nicely candied, pretty much like Mizz Sharon's recipe. At this point, they can be spooned into a dish and dotted with additional butter and brown sugar, or topped with marshmallows and popped into the oven until they melt. My mom fixed them this way when I was a kid, but I normally skip the marshmallows and add a little fresh-sqeezed orange juice to the skillet.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger dave said...

Saw this at Cook's Country, the people that produce "America's Test Kitchen," and thought this was interesting:

Boiling sweet potatoes in lots of liquid--as you would regular potatoes--is not a good idea. Sweet potatoes will soak up too much water, and the resulting mash will be a soggy mess. Better to cook them in a small amount of of liquid. Just 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (plus a little butter), along with the water released from the sweet potatoes as they cook, is enough to steam them into tenderness.

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous jim said...

"In the US, the traditional preparation for sweet potatoes is to mash them, put them in a casserole with marshmallows on top, and then bake them.

Not to my taste, but it is the standard way."

I can't imaginewhat thats like. is that a southern thing?

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Steve said...

jim said...,

What is that like? Really sweet. Personally, I like to place some sugar, Karo syrup and sweet potatoes in a pan.

You can use canned sweet potatoes because they cook up nice and firm. when baked. If I was going to use fresh potatoes, I would be inclined to bake them.

Marshmallows are overkill, imho. I like the crispiness of the poatoes, which you don't get with a topping.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Sweet with lime and heat:

A sublime nuevo classico for sweet potatoes. Bake 4 large potatoes in their skins for 45 minutes. Let cool to the point that you can handle them, cut in half and scoop out the innards to a food processor or mashing bowl. Add lime juice and canned chipotle peppers to taste (one is good to start) along with a teaspoon of the sauce. Whirl or mash, move to a pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to heat through.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous myrtle june said...

Marshmallows are for flaming over a campfire then smushed between chocolate and graham crackers. That's the only use I've ever found for 'um.

Sweet potatoes baked with some butter on top are great! I experienced Sweet Potato Fries in Lyons, Co this summer....... man, oh man that was some great eats along with a crabcake ...... ok off track once again. Sorry.

My Mom always made these with canned, so do I. Pretty much what others have posted:

stick of butter (its a big can)brown sugar
1 tsp. orange juice
5-7 pineapple chunks (smooshed with fork, add a little juice)
teaspoon or two of lemonade (Newman's Own)
little pinch of cinnamon
little bigger pinch of allspice

Slow bubble for a while then pour over the top of the sweet potatoes (cut, not mashed) and bake, maybe 20-30 minutes... more or less. I'm not a terribly precise cook.... it all works out though.

I'm going add some Jack Daniels this year too! :-)

Great on the leftover turkey/stuffing/cranjelly on white sandwich too. :-)

At 5:42 AM, Anonymous steveb said...

I layer quarter-inch thick disks of sweet potatoes and wedges of peeled cored Granny Smith apples, salting and peppering lightly as I go.

Then flavor a mixture of warm milk and cream (enough to cover the potatoes) with a little cinnamon and nutmeg (a little goes a long way) and pour over the potatoes. Bake uncovered at 350 until the liquid is absorbed, about an hour. Half sweet/ half savory lusciousness.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger me said...

i am a no mashmallows type. the potatos are sweet enough - why add all that gunk on top? yuck.

i like to steam the sweet potatos until they're just tender, then toss them with a bit of brown sugar, a few tablespoons of melted butter, and some apple pie space (or a combo of cinnamon and nutmeg). then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.


At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with the Brits here. I always hated sweet potatoes until someone fed me a plain one. Then I realized that what I hated was the marshmallows and pineapple and enough sugar to push a borderline diabetic over the edge.

Anyway, here's how I like them for Thanksgiving: baked soft, run through a ricer a couple of times (to lose the fibers), mixed with a little butter and salt, reheated until the butter melts and sprinkled with pecans.

This is, admittedly, a minority view.

- Molly, NYC

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Kathryn in MA said...

Re sweet potatoes with marshmallows - a Southerner i know bakes them with pecans, bourbon, brown sugar, and marshmallows on top.

I bake 2 hours til they have carmalized, scoop out of skins, and mix with maple syrup and diced candied ginger.

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Abo Gato said...

All the sugar and marshmallow business should not get anywhere near a sweet potato. My favorite way to serve them is either baked, with butter and then a nice gorgonzola crumbled on top or just cut into cubes and roasted at a high temp with a spray of olive oil and then maybe some garlic and rosemary tossed on them at the end.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas diver --

Interesting, about the difference in the starch.

Potatoes are members of the nightshade family, sweet potatoes of the morning glory family. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are, however, slighltly more closely related to each other than to yams (according to my quick wikipedia check).

I wonder what happens when you put yams in a food processor?

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas diver --

Interesting, about the difference in the starch.

Potatoes are members of the nightshade family, sweet potatoes of the morning glory family. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are, however, slighltly more closely related to each other than to yams (according to my quick wikipedia check).

I wonder what happens when you put yams in a food processor?

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet Potato Puree!

It's a Silver Palate recipe and I don't have the exact proportions. Roughly, however:

1. Bake 3 to 4 large sweet potatoes till soft (about 1 hour) 350-400° oven. I think.

2. Cook 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 4-inch lengths in a saucepan till soft. Cook with 1 tbsp butter, some water (1/4 cup?), and a tsp of honey.

3. Puree the DRAINED cooked carrots and sweet potatoes (skins removed) in a food processor.

4. Add 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream and 1/2 stick butter (hey, it's Thanksgiving!)

Taste. If it's not sweet, add a TOUCH more of honey (or brown sugar, if you prefer).

NOTE: Be careful about adding too much sweetner. The puree gets baked again, and it gets sweeter as it cooks.

Put the pureed mixture in a casserole dish. It can be refrigerated overnight, or for a day or two.

After the turkey comes out of the oven, the puree goes in (cover with a lid or tin foil). Bake for 45 min to an hour at 350° (or thereabouts).

This is awesome and, as far as I'm concerned, as good as a dessert as it is as a side dish. (Frankly, I like it much better than pumpkin pie.)

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Dustin DeWind said...

Bake sweet potatoes until caramelized (even though it takes an hour and a half or something). Serve hot as a main dish with butter, yogurt or tahini. Yes, sesame sauce. It's a little bitter to counteract the sweetness, and oily to augment the starchiness.

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