ISO Sweet Potato Casserole recipe: not to savory, not too sweet
Once again I am honored with the task finding a sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving. I normally enjoy planning and preparing meals for family gatherings, especially major holiday get-togethers. But the sweet potato thing has become more of a hardship than a pleasure- caught between two camps, the sweet marshmallow lovers and the wine-drinking naysayers who refuse to throw off their palates with too much sugar- I am inevitably risking the disappointment and/or ridicule of my loved ones (!).
I usually go with a fairly sweet preparation (out of tradition and also to contrast with the savory mashed white potatoes that are invariably served) in the tradition of casserole with marshmallow, but without the marshmallow. I've tried pecan streusel topping (but some won't eat nuts), and I've done a whipped layered casserole thing... and I am out of ideas. I was thinking of making a gratin this year, but then realized that the addition of parmigiano or gruyere or goat cheese would mean a savory dish, and I don't really have the heart to deprive the sweet-eaters of their favorite side dish.
Does anyone have any siggestions for a middlle-of-the-road casserole or gratin-style dish featuring sweet potatoes? I would also consider a seecondary ingredient, such as turnip or onion, as long as its nothing too "exotic" (not my word) that will take away from the overall sweet flavor.
I apologize for this rambling plea- but I really would like to find a way to make all 16 people smile :)
Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
oh- I should add that I am not summarily against cheese or streusel or sugar- I am just looking for a recipe that is both salty and sweet, if possible. Thanks again!
Yup- I usually put them in tin foil and bake, then add butter, S/p and use my stick blender to mix. Looks like baby food, but so good. Had them with with a rack of lamb on Sunday. To me, the sweet potatoes are sweet enough with adding any sugar or sweetner. Have never had them with marshmellows.
I find myself in the position every year, wanting a sweet potato but not wanting the cloyingly sweet version of my mother's generation. Last year I cubed sweet potatoes and tossed them in olive oil with salt, pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Throw them into a roasting pan and add maple syrup or brown sugar. Cover tightly with foil and bake @400 degrees until soft,about 30 minutes. Uncover and stir and put back in the oven to caramelize, about 15 more minutes. Everyone liked this version, which was both sweet and savory, at the same time. Another year I made Sweet potatoes and greens with honey mustard glaze, which I believe I found at Epicurious. It was very good as well.
i cubed sweet potatos
This is just off the top of my head, so I haven't tried it: Sweet potatoes are sweet by nature, so the bigger issue is the savory part. How about braising peeled, sliced spuds in a true ginger ale, like Reed's (sold at Trader Joe's; the apple-ginger one would be fine, too), then mashing with cream or cream cheese (or chive/onion flavored) and baking in a gratin dish? The Reed's, if you aren't familiar, is very spicy, loaded with ginger. I find it unpleasant as a beverage, but keep it on hand because it is outstanding for settling a queasy stomach.
The Cook's Illustrated Holiday Guide has a recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes that sounds quite good and which I will be trying this Thanksgiving. It involves braising/roasting the sweet potatoes on the stovetop with a touch of butter and cream so that the natural sweetness shines through. The magazine also gives a couple of variations: one involving maple syrup and another with an Eastern Indian taste.