Oh man, oh man, oh man ... is this good! Yes it is! It's a perfect vegetable recipe for Thanksgiving, a less-but-still-sweet sweet potato casserole, full of flavor and buttery-gingery-syrupy goodness.
But it's also simple enough for everyday. This is my favorite, so far, of the Thanksgiving vegetable collection. Hmm. Or wait. What about the World's Best Green Bean Casserole? And the Smothered Cabbage? And the Creamy Carrot Purée? And ... hmmm, must do another taste test.
RECIPE for MAPLE GINGER SWEET POTATOES
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 8 (in usual-sized servings, 16 for small-ish big-dinner servings)
2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, scrubbed well
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup maple syrup (sorghum worked great, too, or maybe 1/3 cup brown sugar)
1/3 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste (don't skip the pepper, creates great contrast to maple syrup)
Toasted almonds (optional but adds to the simple appearance ...)
TO STEAM: Start the water to boil for the steaming. Peel the sweet potatoes and dice into pieces about 3/4". Place in an even layer in a steamer basket, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove from heat, uncover (so they don't get soggy).
TO BOIL: Place the whole sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover (plus a good inch) with water. Cover and bring water to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a fast simmer and let cook until a knife can be easily inserted into the center, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Peel and cut into a 3/4" dice.
SAUCE: In a large skillet, melt the butter til shimmery. Add the ginger and let cook for a minute til fragrant. Stir in the maple syrup and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the cooked sweet potato and stir well to coat. Season to taste and stir well again. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish. Cover with foil.
BAKE: Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes (put foil back). Remove the foil, stir and cook for about 15 minutes until glaze has thickened just a bit. Serve immediately.
TO PREP AHEAD
THE DAY BEFORE Cook the sweet potatoes and assemble the dish. Cover and refrigerate. (The sweet potatoes don't turn brown, no problem.)
THE DAY OF Return to room temperature, then bake.
ALANNA's TIPs & KITCHEN NOTES
MAPLE SYRUP Grade B maple syrup has the most flavor. It's not always easy to find though is almost always in stock at Trader Joe's.
Use a microplane to easily grate fresh ginger. Or grab a jar of ginger paste from the Indian aisle at my nearby international grocery (for St. Louis readers, Global Foods in Kirkwood). I keep a jar in the fridge, it keeps, it's handy, it's good.
STEAMING vs BOILING The inspiring recipe specified boiling the sweet potatoes whole, then dicing. I also tried dicing and steaming them. Both work fine. Boiling them left the diced pieces slightly softer to better soak up the butter-ginger-syrup glaze. Steaming was faster. Next time I'll likely steam again but let cook slightly more.
SLOW COOKER You can make this in the slow cooker -- just combine all the ingredients in a three-quart slow cooker and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally if you can. What you get is the flavors -- but not cubes of sweet potato glazed in maple syrup and ginger. The last time I did this, I let them cook another 4 hours, they got really soft and luscious and maple-syrup colored, so I served them mashed. Very good!
~ My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes ~
~ Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry & Orange ~
~ Savory Stir-Fried Sweet Potatoes ~
~ Frozen Sweet Potato Fries: Are They Worth the Money? the Calories? ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Chicken Cider Stew ~
~ Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column