Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raisins and Toasted Pecans

Sweet potato casserole has always been my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving.  I make mine the way my mom always did, with a sugary pecan streusel topping, and never with marshmallows.

I love sweet potatoes, and we eat them every week, usually roasted whole in the skin to concentrate their natural sweetness, then split open and drizzled with a little olive oil or butter, and seasoned simply with salt and cinnamon.

These mashed sweet potatoes are a wonderful, healthy alternative to the sugar-laden casserole we're all used to seeing at the Thanksgiving table.  With just enough butter and milk to add a touch of richness, they're barely sweetened with a little raw honey or pure maple syrup, and spiced with warm fall spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

The raisins, mashed with the sweet potatoes while they're piping hot, become delightfully soft and plump.  But the real secret to the indulgent flavor of these potatoes is in the vanilla and maple extracts.  Adding a few drops of maple extract gives the illusion of sweetness, without adding any sugar.

The potatoes are finished with a sprinkling of chopped, toasted pecans, and I dare say, they are just as satisfactory as the traditional casserole.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raisins and Toasted Pecans

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or seasoned to taste
  • pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 425.  Rub the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, wrap each in foil, and place on a baking sheet.  Roast for about an hour and 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft.  Unwrap the foil, let the potatoes cool for 10 minutes, then peel off and discard the skin.

Mash the potatoes by hand in a large mixing bowl with the butter, milk, raisins, honey/maple syrup, vanilla, maple extract and spices.  Sprinkle with the pecans and serve.

The potatoes can also be prepared a few days in advance, placed in a baking dish, and rewarmed in the oven before serving.

Yields about 6-8 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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