In my house, were really good about always serving at least one vegetable for dinner, but I find that we often put a lot of effort into the entree of our meal and don't really experiment much with our sides, particularly our vegetables. One of my favourite foods in the Fall is sweet potatoes, so it's not surprising that sweet potatoes can be found on my dinner plate at least 3 or 4 times a week. So one night for dinner this week, I decided to shake up our usual roasted or baked sweet potatoes by making a creamy and comforting sweet potato mash.
What was intended to be just a simple sweet potato mash turned into something much more interesting when our entree was a little behind schedule. The new rib recipe we tried seemed to be taking longer than we thought, so I had to stall my recipe so that I could still serve my mash hot and fresh. I decided to transfer the mash into a baking dish and top with some ingredients I happened to have on hand to add extra hits of flavour and texture. My Baked Sweet Potato Mash turned into out to be such a tasty dish! The sweetness of the buttery brown sugar sweet potatoes was cut by the saltiness of the parmesan cheese, with a little bit of crunch from the breadcrumbs and pecans, and a tiny hint of heat from paprika. Not only was this delicious as a side, the leftovers made for a perfect lunch to bring to work the next day!
Note: As you can see from the above picture, my pecans got a little burnt and my breadcrumbs are not very golden-brown. I made the mistake of pre-toasting my pecans, which had them browning up pretty fast with that second bake as the sweet potato topper. I had to cover the mash with tinfoil so that the nuts wouldn't burn anymore, which didn't allow for the breadcrumbs to crisp.
Note: This recipe can easily be made gluten free, just eliminate the breadcrumbs.
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tbsp melted butter
about 1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup pecans
grated parmesan cheese to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover pot with lid. Let cook on a gentle boil for 20-25 min. or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
2. Drain water and place sweet potatoes back in pot. In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the butter and brown sugar. Add to potatoes and mash using a potato masher or add ingredients to a stand mixer and mix using the paddle attachment. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Pour mixture into a medium-sized greased baking dish. Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl and drizzle melted butter overtop. Combine using fingertips and crumble evenly over sweet potatoes.
4. Top breadcrumbs evenly with paprika, parmesan cheese, and pecans. Bake at 350º or until topping is golden brown. Serve hot or warm.
Paolo Nutini - Candy
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