Sweet Potato Casserole

We’ve been absent…I’m sorry! Can we blame Thanksgiving craziness and end of semester busyness? Because those have seriously been what’s kept us from writing.

Over the past couple weeks our little peanut turned 1 and has fully embraced the call of toddlerhood (hello random tantrums); we celebrated her birthday and Thanksgiving with both of our families with lots of delicious food, and we’ve been keeping our heads down trying to make it through the final days of Matt’s classwork and studying. Sprinkle in a couple birthday and early Christmas parties, dinners with friends, and doctor visits and that’s been our life.

For our Thanksgiving dinner with Matt’s family, we ordered a vast majority of the food. In the end it was easier for travel purposes and it didn’t put stress on anyone for preparation. The place we ordered from however didn’t include a sweet potato dish, enter: my first time making sweet potato casserole.

I was a bit nervous as this task is usually left to Matt’s aunt, however with her not joining us this year, and us hosting dinner, it made sense for me to try my hand at this beloved holiday dish. Let me write this disclaimer that I’m not totally crazy about marshmallows, so up front, I need to declare that the topping isn’t marshmallows, but crispy sugary pecans.

I was inspired by a casserole brought to the Thanksgiving dinner we had with our small group (thanks Catie!), and thought I’d try to make it my own. Using the memory of my tastebuds and this recipe from the Food Network as the base of my inspiration, I moved ahead and conquered.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

Modifications

  • Because of the number of servings I was hoping to provide, I wanted to make a 9×13-inch pan of this casserole, so first, I upped the amounts for each ingredient; I’ll tell you right now, that meant some measurements weren’t in exact ratios, but to give you frame of reference, I started with 5lbs of sweet potatoes.
  • We did not have a steamer basket large enough to accommodate the 5lbs of potatoes, so I boiled them.
  • The topping: if you’re looking for just a sugary, pecan-y topping, go with what’s listed. From my friend’s casserole, I was hoping for a little crispy topping. I ended up adding about 3T. of melted butter to the brown sugar and pecan topping mixture and spread it evenly over the sweet potatoes.
  • I also baked the whole casserole for closer to an hour until I had reached the crispy topping stage.

Overall, really good base for a recipe and although obviously I did my own thing, I needed a starting place and then the freedom to modify from there. The casserole was a hit (and I ended up making it for both family Thanksgiving dinners), and I hope to add it to my holiday cooking list.

 

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