Mashed Sweet Potatoes

January 13, 2007 at 8:06 pm (B_(3 stars, like), Cook's Illustrated, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Starches, Vegetable dishes)

For the past two years in a row I’ve made massive amounts of mashed sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. I bake the potatoes on a cookie sheet until they’re meltingly soft, then let them cool a bit and peel off most of the peel (and eat about half of the peel while doing so–the carmelized soft bit that was touching the cookie sheet is so sweet and delicious). I put them all in a big bowl and mash them. The question is then how to season them, and how much fat and sweet to add?

This year I added salt, a touch of brown sugar, and a whole bunch of fresh chopped sage (one of those plastic boxes full). It was good but was missing something Derek and his father thought. So we sautéed about 2 Tbs. of chopped garlic in a little olive oil. Much, much better. The sweet potatoes had a fuller, more savory flavory.

Last year I added orange juice and zest. They were good too.

I was just reading the recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes in Cook’s Illustrated The Best Light Recipe cookbook. They say they tried all kinds of ways of cooking the potatoes. Baking was excellent, but it took over an hour and then you had to cool them before you could peel them. Boiling sweet potatoes in their skins and boiling pieces of peeled potato were equally bad–little flavor and a wet puree. The microwave cooked the potatoes unevenly, and they went instantly from undercooked to overdone. They ended up suggesting braising peeled, sliced sweet potatoes in a little water. They say it yields a luxurious texture that is neither loose nor gluey. I decided to try it. Read the rest of this entry »

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