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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lynell's maple-glazed sweet potatoes

I've put this recipe together in response to a request from my friend Lynell, who wants to make a Thanksgiving sweet potato/yam dish with maple syrup, butter and pecans -- no brown sugar... and knowing Lynell, no artificially-flavored marshmallows, faux low-fat ingredients -- she likes *real* food, as do I!

this should make about 6 cups total. I highly recommend using true sweet potatoes rather than yams -- sweet potatoes usually have smoother skins. while I love the texture and flavor of white sweet potatoes (usually found in Asian markets and some larger grocery stores that cater to a Hispanic market), they don't contain as much vitamin A as their richer, sweeter orange-fleshed counterparts, and they just don't have that classic flavor you're looking for at Thanksgiving. so look for some nice, smooth-skinned sweet potatoes with deep orange flesh (the peel is really no indication of the inner color, so it's worth it to ask the produce staff for their suggestions).

  • 1/2-1 cup pecan halves
  • 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one- to two-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or rum (try Eagle Rare Bourbon or Myers Rum), OR 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (closely related to black pepper, but sweeter in flavor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated (or pre-ground) nutmeg
  • optional: a pinch or two of ground cinnamon, if desired
  • kosher salt to taste 
preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, until fragrant (err on the side of under-done, if needed -- you don't want them burnt! and they will cook further in the dish). pour the pecans out onto a cutting board to cool, then chop finely. butter the same baking sheet and arrange the potatoes in one layer. in a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, butter, bourbon OR rum OR lemon juice, spices and a big pinch of salt, and heat over low heat until butter is melted. whisk together, taste and add more salt if desired -- it should taste a bit salty, as it needs to season the sweet potatoes, too. pour the syrup mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly. cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. remove foil and continue to bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown. add the chopped pecans and bake 15 minutes longer.

if desired, you can prepare the dish a day ahead -- just place in an oven-safe serving dish & refrigerate. reheat the next day at 350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes, until hot all the way through.


reader said...

I love your recipes, Diane. These one sounds like yummy candy.

Diane McGee Hardin said...

thank you! can't wait to try them myself. I like my sweet potatoes on the slightly less sweet side, but they still need some delicious sticky syrup to fit in at Thanksgiving.

zoomletta said...

These are going to be fantastic! I got the Eagle Rare Bourbon you suggested. I can't wait to make these. I'll let you know their yumminess quotient. Thanks so much for posting this.

Diane McGee Hardin said...

please do let me know! and then have some of that bourbon on the rocks -- so good.