Sweet Potato & Banana Purée ♥ Recipe

Ultra creamy, ultra smooth
Today's Thanksgiving recipe idea: A luscious smooth purée of sweet potatoes and ripe bananas.

Oh my. OH MY. Oh my oh my OH MY. This lovely orange-hued sweet potato dish nearly didn't make it into the oven, I wanted to scoop it straight out of the dish with a spoon and into -- well, my mouth. It half reminded me of a warm smoothie -- in fact, honestly, I think sweet potatoes and bananas mixed with milk in a blender would make one terrific smoothie. Did I say this stuff is good?

BUDGET IDEA The inspiring recipe called for butter-toasted almonds on the top. To save a few calories and some expense, I opted for a topping mix of whole-grain dry bread crumbs (panko would work too) and a few nuts. It was a good call, since the sweet potatoes themselves taste quite rich -- an all-nut topping would be gilding the lily.

SWEET POTATO & BANANA PURÉE

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes about 4 cups

3 pounds sweet potatoes (about four large sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into roughly equal sized pieces

3 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
Kosher salt to taste

TOPPING
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons whole-grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts

Prep the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large pot, add water to barely cover. Cover and bring to a boil, let cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain.

When the potatoes are nearly cooked, puree the bananas in a food processor. Add the hot sweet potatoes, butter, rum and brown sugar. Add nutmeg and salt to taste. Transfer to a lightly greased baking dish.

TOPPING In a small skillet, melt the butter on MEDIUM HIGH. Stir in the bread crumbs and walnuts, let cook until aromatic and just beginning to darken. Arrange evenly atop the sweet potatoes. Serve immediately.

TO PREP AHEAD
DAY BEFORE Cook and mix the sweet potatoes, transfer to a buttered baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Mix the topping but do not put onto the casserole.
BEFORE DINNER Return to room temperature, allow a couple of hours. Spoon topping evenly over the top, bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until heated well through.


KITCHEN NOTES
When made ahead, the top layer of the casserole turns brown in the refrigerator. It's not unpleasant looking (you can see the difference in the photo) and flavor isn't affected. But it does mean that the lovely orange color is lost, at least on top.
Be sure that the bananas are really ripe, the skins entirely brown to plan on letting the bananas ripen for a week or even more. That said, grocery stores often sell ripe bananas (for less!) so that will provide two or three days head start.
Three bananas makes this more 'banana tasting' than 'sweet potato' tasting which may be wonderful for kids and those who aren't so fond of vegetables but bothersome for those who really love the taste of sweet potatoes. If so, use one or two bananas rather than three.
Make-ahead casseroles like those that work so well for Thanksgiving will heat more quickly and evenly if they're in shallow baking dishes and if they've been brought to room temperature before going into the oven.
My sense is that this is rich enough that at big meals with plenty of other offerings, it will serve more than 16 although with smaller servings.

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MORE THANKSGIVING IDEAS for SWEET POTATOES

featured in 2006
~ Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes ~
featured in 2007
~ Fresh Candied Yams ~
~ Sweet Potato Casserole ~

~ more sweet potato recipes ~
~ more purées & mashes ~
~ Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes 2008 ~




Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So watch for new Thanksgiving recipes all November long, new additions to my collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. Whether it's 2006's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or 2007's favorite Cauliflower Cream or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy, this year, move vegetables to your center stage.
© Copyright 2008

9 comments:

OMG! You are a doll! Thanks for this idea, you got me droolin'!

They have something like this on the hot bar at Whole Foods. It's one of my favorites. I really should follow your recipe and make it some time.

That's a combination I would never have even thought about - but if you like it, then it must be good, sweetie :)

I think I'm missing something. Does this get baked in the oven only if it is made ahead of time? If I'm planning to serve it immediately, do I just top the hot sweet potato mixture with the nuts and serve?

Thanks - this sounds really good!

-Dana

Dana ~ You've got it. The mixture is fully cooked so only gets baked -- let's call it reheated -- if it's made in advance. That said, there'd be nothing wrong with popping it into the oven for 30 minutes, say, to keep hot while waiting for the rest of the meal to finish.

Hi Alanna,

This looks great! When we lived in Massachusetts, my husband's favorite fish dish (coconut encrusted haddock) was served with mashed sweet potatoes that had sliced bananas in it. I'd love to make a version at home.

How would this be without any topping? I'm gluten-free so bread/panko is not an option and my father-in-law, who will be joining us for Thanksgiving, is nut-free.

I think I may roast the potatoes in my crockpot overnight - they are SO good that way and sweet and don't take up a burner; so I will probably be able to omit the brown sugar and hopefully some of the butter too (and I may sub coconut milk instead for a more tropical flair that's dairy-free).

If you have any suggestions for making this more allergy-friendly, that'd be great!

~ M ~ So many things to consider when working with multiple food allergies, my goodness. I think this would taste fine if you skipped the topping but wouldn't have the 'finished' look that a topping provides. What about, hmm, maybe chopping up dried banana chips? Or maybe toasted pumpkin seeds? That said, it is really about the sweet potatoes and bananas and so, yes, go with that. Good luck, let me know how it goes!

Thanks, Alanna, for your help and quick reply. I actually don't mind making allergen-friendly meals; it encourages me to be creative and healthy and keep everyone safe. Equally important is that it forces otherwise the limited palates of certain family members to try something new. :) I do, however, make a TON of food in the hopes that everyone will have a few things that they like (and the leftovers are always eaten within a few days, repurposed, or frozen).

If I made this sweet potato and banana puree without any topping at all, would you still bake it? Or be done after adding nutmeg and salt? I wonder about how alcoholy it would taste... :P

M ~ Great approach, one all of us might adopt! If you make this ahead, then you would definitely want to re-warm. But otherwise, I wouldn't think that 'too much' alcohol would be a problem. But if you're wondering, taste it as you add, then only add as much as tastes good. Hope this helps!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna