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Carrie’s Kitchen: Sweet (potato) recipe ideas to try this Thanksgiving

It’s officially November, and time to start planning for Thanksgiving! This week I’m thinking about sweet potatoes, and all the wonderful things you can do with them.

Do you and your family like sweet potato casserole? I always thought I did, because I like the way my mom makes sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving (boiled, skinned, then baked with a light glaze of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon). But then as I attended other families’ Thanksgivings and Friendsgivings, I’ve realized that her recipe wasn’t actually a sweet potato casserole, and that the real thing is way, way sweeter. I like her simple version better.

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But you probably already have a way you do (or don’t) like your sweet potato casserole, so I found completely different ways to use sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. For example, in biscuits. I’ve made sweet potato biscuits before, but I had lost that recipe, so I was quite excited when I found a new one. Biscuits are kind of hard to screw up (as long as your oven works properly), but adding the mashed sweet potatoes makes these extra smooth and a little sweet. Yum!

Second, I liked this roasted sweet potato and onion salad. You roast chunks of sweet potato in the oven, cook the onions until well-browned in a cast iron skillet, and then toss them all over arugula with a homemade dressing. It’s completely different than a casserole, and kind of refreshing.

And finally, for those who would really miss sweet potato casserole if they didn’t have it, these little casserole bites, in phyllo cups. You top them with pecan halves and mini marshmallows, but the sweet taste will be balanced out by the dry and kind of bland phyllo cups.

Check back next week for more Thanksgiving must-haves getting a remix.

Enjoy!

Sweet potato biscuits

1 4 ounce-stick butter unsalted, cold, divided

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup cooked sweet potato skin removed, mashed

⅔ cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (if you have a dark baking pan, lower by 25 degrees). Prep square or round baking pan by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.

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In a large bowl, add flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Grate 6 tablespoons of butter using the shredding side of a box grater and place into the flour mixture. Toss together to combine. Place into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove from freezer and toss in sweet potato puree until evenly combined with flour mixture. Create a well and pour in the buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon about 15 times around. Don't worry if it's not completely mixed.

Flour your kneading surface. Pour out biscuit mixture onto counter and work together with your hands until the mixture is no longer dry and crumbly. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Flour your rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough into a rectangle until it's about 1-inch thick.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and arrange in prepared baking pan so that the biscuits are touching. Combine remaining scraps and roll out again and cut more biscuits until all the dough is used.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush over the biscuits. Bake biscuits in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they start to brown on the edges. Remove from oven. Brush more melted butter over the top. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Roasted sweet potato and onion salad

2 pounds medium sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise ½-inch thick

1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 1/2 teaspoons molasses

6 small yellow onions (1 1/4 pounds), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Pinch of crushed red pepper

2 garlic cloves, sliced

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

½-pound arugula

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes, thyme, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt. Spread in an even layer and roast for 30 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the vinegar, honey and molasses; season with salt. Spread the onion slices in the skillet and bake until browned, about 20 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Reserve the juices in the skillet.

In a small saucepan, toast the cumin seeds and crushed pepper over moderate heat. Transfer to a spice mill and let cool; grind to a powder. In the same pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden.

Set the reserved skillet over moderate heat, add the garlic, garlic oil, orange juice and spices and simmer for 5 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom; season with salt. Mound the arugula on plates and top with the sweet potatoes and onions. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Phyllo shells sweet potato bites

2 sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup pecans halves

30 mini marshmallows

Bake sweet potatoes in a small baking dish at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until you can pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork.

Let the sweet potatoes cool then when cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop the middle with a spoon. Place whatever you are scooping in a bowl and try to get as close to the skin so you don't waste any part of the sweet potato.

Chop half of the pecans and leave about 30 pecan halves un-chopped.

Whisk the egg in a bowl with a fork then pour over the sweet potatoes. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, sugar, chopped pecans and heavy cream. Also add melted butter. Mix this all up very well. You can also use a hand held electrical mixer to make a homogenous mix.

Line up a sheet pan with baking paper. Arrange the phyllo shells so they don't touch. Fill them up with the sweet potato mix. Top each with a pecan half and a mini marshmallow.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 380 degrees. You don't need to bake this too long since the shells are pre-baked and the sweet potato filling is very thin so it will cook fast. If you don't want the marshmallows to get golden brown on top, then add them during the last 5 minutes.

Serve warm or room temperature.

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