Thanksgiving must be coming up based on all the sweet potato, sage, and stuffing recipes being made in my kitchen lately!
Turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberries have been part of Thanksgiving feasts ever since the first observance in 1621 when the Pilgrims and Indians celebrated the bounty of the harvest. Today’s traditions are based on European harvest festivals and center around dishes common to New England fall harvests, with each region of the country making appropriate adaptations to incorporate the local customs and foods. Persimmon pudding in Indiana, crab cakes in the Chesapeake Bay area, green and red chiles in Arizona and New Mexico, stuffed lobsters in Maine, apples in the Northwest, and cornbread stuffing in the South – each are a “must” for family get-togethers.
Just try and leave something out and you will hear howls of complaints. I’m pretty sure that the reason we now have tables groaning under the weight of so many different dishes is because each year we make all the foods from the years before and add another one or two to the line up. Eventually we wind up with two versions of just about everything in an attempt to please everyone.
From simple boiled chunks and layered gratins to bowls piled high with smashed or whipped sweet potatoes are one of the most familiar dish on our tables. Since the 1950s, the ubiquitous marshmallow-topped version is in every food magazine with recipes for the harvest holiday. I have never understood the fascination with this dish, it is far too sweet for me.
Today’s recipe is one of my favorites, creamy and utterly ambrosial, like the beauty of contrapuntal music, two melodies that dance around each other, blending and harmonizing perfectly. This dish is the perfect combination of velvety sweet potatoes topped with crunchy candied nuts.
These sweet potatoes are pureed and have a hint of maple syrup for flavor and sweetness. Then they are topped with sweet and crunchy nuts that add a beautiful textural contrast. Simply perfect for your Thanksgiving feast or dinner all winter long. If you want to spice things up, you could add a little chipotle powder for a smoky hit of heat.
Enjoy the depth of flavor in this side dish. The roasting brings out the sweetness of the potatoes and onions, making them even better when combined than each is on their own.
This recipe is part of the Food Network’s #FallFest, and today we are focusing on our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. I am always awed that, with nothing more than a vague topic, this group of bloggers comes up with the most amazing array of recipes. What an incredibly talented group they are. Make certain you check out the other recipes in today’s collection listed at the bottom of the post.
Enjoy your upcoming holiday and hopefully you will be serving these wonderful whipped sweet potatoes!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
The easiest and best way to make sure the sweet potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and seasonings is to use your hands to toss them together. There is no better tool in the kitchen!
- Candied Pecans
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2-1/2 cups pecan pieces, walnuts, almonds, etc. or a combination
- Sweet Potatoes
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil, divided
- 2 extra large or 4 medium red-skinned (Garnet) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp butter (substitute oil for dairy-free and vegan)
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Make Candied Pecans: Line a baking sheet with sides with a Silpat or parchment paper; set next to the stove.
- In a medium saucepan (about 3 to 4 quarts), melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until fairly smooth and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the nuts and toss to coat evenly with the syrup. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Set aside to cool, tossing occasionally to help keep nuts somewhat separated.
- When cooled and the sugar has hardened, place on paper towels to absorb extra butter, then roughly chop pecans with a sharp chef’s knife or pulse in a food processor. Set aside.
- Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Brush 2 tbsp of the oil on another baking sheet. Scatter sweet potato chunks and the onions on the pan. Drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle the top with ginger and lemon zest. Toss together to coat all the pieces with the oil and seasonings.
- Place in oven to roast. After 30 minutes remove pan from the oven, toss potatoes, return to oven, and continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes or until completely softened.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Add the butter and maple syrup and puree until smooth. You can also use your standing mixer or immersion blender. Using a food processor will give you the creamiest and smoothest texture. Beating them in a stand mixer will leave them more rustic. Use either method you prefer.
- Transfer to a warmed bowl, sprinkle with the candied pecans and serve immediately.
- If making ahead, store the sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and keep the pecans in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat potatoes and top with pecans right before serving to keep them crunchy.
- Yield: 4 to 8 servings
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Fall Fest. See the links below for inspiration and great recipes and check out our Pinterest page for more recipes from this season and past years!
- Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Stuffed Mushrooms with Creamed Kale
- The Heritage Cook: Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans (Gluten-Free)
- Jeanette’s Healthy Living: 100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes
- Devour: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- The Lemon Bowl: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Chorizo and Farro
- The Mom 100: Lentils and Carrots with Dried Apricots
- Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Maitake, Leek & Bacon Dressing
- Weelicious: Vegan Whipped Coconut Sweet Potatoes
- The Cultural Dish: Pumpkin Risotto
- Napa Farmhouse 1885: Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Red or Green: Cheese Ball with Everything Spice
- Daisy at Home: Roasted Cranberry Pear Sauce
- Swing Eats: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Rosemary
- Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Baby Lima Beans Salad with Bell Pepper and Pomegranate
- Dishing With Divya: Ash Gourd Raita
- Domesticate Me: 12 Easy and Impressive Thanksgiving Sides
- The Wimpy Vegetarian: Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples | #FallFest
- FN Dish: Colorful Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides — Fall Fest
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