Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Candied Sweet Potatoes

We had a long day yesterday, and after stopping at two stores on the way home, we were exhausted and just didn't want to prepare a complicated meal. Good thing we had some sweet potatoes kicking around waiting to be eaten. I adore sweet potatoes: it's something we never had in my house growing up, and I love baking them in the oven (400º for about an hour) right in their jackets, then popping them open for an easy and healthy side dish. You don't even need to top them with butter; their sweetness alone makes them rich and creamy enough for automatic consumption.
We were to hungry to wait for an hour, and these were gigantic potatoes, which means that baking them, naturally, would take even longer than that. So we scrounged around for a good, easy recipe -- a quick scrounge, I might add, since we were practically starving at this point -- and found one in our good old standby, the American Heritage Cookbook (last mentioned here, in the post about Macaroni Pudding, or Mac'n'Cheese.) Out popped a recipe for Candied Sweet Potatoes, which was ridiculously simple to prepare and really good to eat. Comfort food, I like to call it.
I ate it plain, with nothing on the side, since I was too lazy to make anything else. The three potatoes made a huge batch (a full 9x13 inch pans worth, to be exact) and there are plenty of leftovers. I think he supplemented his with meatballs, which we made last Friday (recipe forthcoming.) Just potatoes is not enough for a growing man. We made a half-batch, considering that we only had half the amount of potatoes the recipe called for, but like I said -- plenty of food to go around. I can imagine this dish on Thanksgiving tables around America, as it would be a fantastic accompaniment to turkey or chicken.

Candied Sweet Potatoes
We began by heating the oven to 400º. The recipe wanted it to be at 350º for over an hour, but like I said -- we were too hungry to wait that long. And they're potatoes, not a tough cut of meat or some kind of dainty vegetable, so they can stand the heat and resulting slower cook time.
I peeled 3 good-sized sweet potatoes and began slicing them into rounds, which were too large for a normal person's mouth, so I halved the rounds and was left with nice moon-shaped pieces.
As I continued chopping, he took over the stove-top, melting together 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of water over medium heat until the sugar dissolved and the butter was completely melted. He then added some salt and pepper, to taste. This turns into a delicious sauce, a light brown and slightly watery topping for the potatoes.
We arranged (not too carefully; a more accurate term would be "we threw") the potatoes in a 9x13 inch Pyrex pan and poured the sauce over them. Into the hot oven it went (top rack, back half, which is the hottest part of our oven) for about 30 minutes, then we took them out and stirred it up with a spatula. The recipe says to "baste once or twice," but I don't own a baster, and I don't think that would have dramatically different results than the simple stir did.
Back into the oven they went, for about 10 more minutes and another stir. They still weren't done (as we had feared) so we ate some leftover guacamole and waited another 10 minutes for them to finish baking.
These were just splendidly delicious. I think that they could use slightly more sauce, or perhaps the sauce needed some more spice (I'm thinking allspice would be perfect, which I use on sweet potatoes frequently) but they were light, refreshing, and a wonderful full meal for me. I think they would be an excellent side dish for poultry or a heavier fish, but they really were splendid on their own.

No comments:

D & I design merchandise related to the HUAC hearings. Visit our store: