Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spiced Sweet Potatoes

   Sweet or savory?

   It seems this is the dilemma faced by many when it comes to sweet potatoes.  I often find a divide that people are in the sweet or savory category and unwilling to change their position.  I adore sweet potatoes in almost all forms:  baked, roasted, mashed, pie.  Although, I think that "sweet potato casserole" is one of the most unforgivable dishes that can be placed in front of people (especially people you are supposed to love!)  You know: the sickly, sticky sweet orange goo loaded with marshmallows?  *shudder*  Maybe it is because the one time I tried it I could taste nothing except brown sugar and blackened marshmallows with some more sugar and possibly some corn syrup.  Sweet potatoes are naturally delicious!  Why ruin them?  Also, with all the other calorie heavy dishes on holidays, why add more guilt to the plate?

   This recipe is my attempt at a compromise between savory and sweet.  My friends agreed.  And it isn't loaded with fat or sugar so you can truly feel good about eating a pile of these sweet potatoes!  I took some cues from Indian cuisine to enhance the natural sweetness, but stayed true enough to Western flavors so as not to scare people off.
Spiced Sweet Potatoes
4-5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2-3/4 C 2% or evaporated milk
1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 C golden raisins
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/4 C brown or raw sugar
salt and pepper

   On a baking sheet, drizzle sweet potatoes with a little bit of olive oil.  Roast at 350 deg F for 30-40 minutes, until very tender.  Mash roasted sweet potatoes with milk and butter.  Add spices.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in raisins.
   Spread into a greased 8x8x2 baking dish.  Sprinkle pecans and sugar over the top.  Bake covered at 350 deg F for 20 minutes.  Uncover, bake 5 more min.
   Serves 8-10
*This dish can easily be made the day before then baked the day of.  Add 5-10 minutes to covered baking time if coming from the refrigerator.

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