Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sweet Sweet Potatoes

There just aren't any good cheesy titles for this. Time for another easy side dish (yes, I'm still riding on the coattails of the holiday dinner; last time, swear!).  This one happens to be my favorite, and being the wierdo that I am, I mix it with practically everything at the holiday meal.  You guessed it: Sweet Potato Casserole! (What's that? You didn't guess?) This recipe takes a sweet potato and turns it into a delicious (read, unhealthy) bit of decadence.  But seriously, despite all that butter and sugar, a serving of this goes a long way; once that casserole is divided 20 ways the impact is slight. As for the origins of this recipe, it's all mine; I made it up by experimenting and adding the basics until I was pleased with the results (the most fun kind of cooking).

What You'll Need
Dining plate                                                                Mixing spoon
Dining fork                                                                  Measuring cups
Knife for chopping                                                       Measuring spoons
Cutting board                                                              13 x 9" casserole dish
Large mixing bowl
7 sweet potatoes                                                          2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup brown sugar                                               1 cup pecans
1 cup nonfat milk                                                         Mini-marshmallows
1 cup butter 

Now Let's Make Sweet Potato Casserole!
As usual, begin with your prep work.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Using your knife and cutting board, chop up enough pecans to measure out about 1 cup. Since this is for the topping, and it's a relatively rustic dish, there's no need to be super precise here; if you're over or under it won't matter. 

This recipe calls for violence
On to the sweet potatoes!  I try to pick potatoes that are medium-largish.  You don't want really small ones as there won't be enough potato, but you don't want huge ones that take forever to cook, either. Begin by giving the potatoes a decent rinse. We won't be using the skins, so they don't have to sparkle, but excess dirt can transfer from your hands to the inside as you handle the potato (Blegh!). Use your fork to stab each side of the potato to help release air (Apparently, potatoes can explode if you skip this step, but I've never tested that. Really). Try not to look too demented as your stabbing the potatoes.  Place 2-3 potatoes on your dinner plate and microwave for 8 minutes. Poke with the fork to see if they're done; there should be no hard places.  Repeat until all the potatoes are cooked (I do this as I do the skinning step below).

Peeling (probably cursing)
As your other potatoes cook, begin skinning the potatoes that just finished.  Slice the potatoes in half and let them sit for a couple minutes to cool a bit (Not waiting = curses and burnt fingers).  When ready, begin removing the outer skin from the potatoes.  You can do this any way that works for you.  I tend to squeeze the potato a bit and the peel with my fingers and occasionally a knife for stubborn pieces. Place the sweet potatoes in your large mixing bowl as you go and set the skins aside for composting (or weird dogs that like potato skins, as mine do). Repeat for all the potatoes.

When all of your potatoes are in your mixing bowl, take the fork and mash them up really good.  Make sure not to leave behind any large lumps as this will affect the texture of your casserole. Once mashed, we can begin adding the other ingredients. Measure out 1 3/4 cup of brown sugar, packing it into the measuring cup as you do so; dump this into the mixing bowl. Then measure 1 cup nonfat milk and pour it into the mixing bowl. Microwave the 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter until it has begun to melt and pour this into the mixing bowl.  Measure out 2 tsp of vanilla extract and add to the sweet potato concoction (thought I was going to say mixing bowl, didn't you?).  Using your mixing spoon, blend all the ingredients together until everything is well mixed.  You shouldn't be able to distinguish any one ingredient except for the sweet potatoes by the time you're done.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the 13 x 9 inch casserole dish, spreading it out evenly.  Sprinkle your chopped pecans over the top of the casserole until you have an even layer. Do the same with the mini-marshmallows.  I typically use about 4 handfuls of marshmallows, but you're welcome to add as many or as few as you'd like. 

The finished product. Note the marshmallow's color.
Bake the casserole at 350F for about 30-45 minutes.  Cooking time varies drastically depending on the oven and the position of the casserole inside the oven. Just watch the casserole as you cook and remove it when the marshmallows have browned. Do NOT overcook; marshmallows are flammable (thankfully not something I learned from experience)! Serve casserole as a side dish to accompany you're favorite meal.  I find that it goes well with both pork and poultry. 


1 comment:

You know you want to . . .