The actual BEST sweet potato recipe EVER!
So, I am obviously getting stoked for Thanksgiving and planning the delicious noms I am going to make. One of the things that is totally traditional in any Thanksgiving spread is sweet potatoes… but we never had it at my Thanksgiving growing up. I didn’t have a lot of things, like pumpkin pie and… well, just sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, really. My point is, I have never been a huge fan of sweet potatoes. I only started eating them recently and I’m pretty picky about what I think is good. I’ll try them if someone else gets them at a four-star restaurant (or at Roscoe’s because anything there is AWESOME) but if you bring me home to feed me your mom’s sweet potato recipe, I’ll probably pass. They certainly aren’t something I’d ever order or make on my own.
With all of that backstory, your mind should be appropriately blown when I say that my friend Natalie made THE BEST whipped sweet potatoes in the history of food and I could happily eat them every day for a year and never get sick of them. When she debuted them, my office went from looking like this:
Well, it looked sort of like that. Just imagine the bloody, disemboweled corpse as a bowl of delicious sweet potatoes. It was still pretty bloody, though.
After devouring every last scrap of sweet potato-y goodness, we begged Natalie for the recipe so that we can all make it every day for Thanksgiving. It is so delicious that first I thought I could sell the recipe to Congress as a way to bail our nation out of this economic crisis but after the 5th congressional aide hung up on me for “wasting their time with an un-funny joke”, I gave up my get-rich-quick scheme and decided to share it with everyone! Viva la communist recipe!
Sorry, I’ve been watching South Park all day.
My point is, this recipe is totally delicious and pretty easy to make. The original recipe was printed in a Food & Wine cookbook but Natalie adapted it slightly to make it more delicious. This is her recipe which I endorse with giant gold stars. It is super simple and I tried to lay it out in easy to follow steps with pretty pictures to make it interesting. Trust me when I say that it is delicious enough that it justifies my long-winded prologue to the actual recipe.
Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes ala Nati
4 lbs sweet potatoes (The garnet or jewel varieties are highly recommended)
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 vanilla bean (or a 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract if you’re broke)
1/2 cup brown sugar (you can add more if you want it sweeter)
Salt and pepper to taste
Note That I Couldn’t Cram Up There: The Food and Wine recipe uses for heavy cream but Natalie used Half and Half and it was AWESOME. You could probably use whole milk if you are a super fat-conscious nutball but don’t use skim or low fat. The aromatics in vanilla are fat-soluble so you will lose most of the flavor. If you use the vanilla extract, you might be able to get away with it but stop being afraid of fat and buy some cream!
Another Note: Don’t try and save time by boiling or steaming the sweet potatoes because it sucks all the flavor out of them.
STEP ONE – Preheat your oven to 400F. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet WHOLE AND UNPEELED. Roast them until they are extremely tender (about 35 minutes). You’ll know they are done because they should give easily when poked with a fork. Let them cool slightly.
STEP TWO – While the sweet potatoes are cooling, place the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the seeds into the cream and butter mixture. Add the pod as well (or dump the vanilla extract in if you’re broke) and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow the vanilla to steep in the liquid while the potatoes finish roasting, stirring occasionally so that you don’t get a weird film on the surface. Remove the pod and rewarm before proceeding if necessary.
STEP THREE – When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and put them into a food processor. (You could probably do it in a blender too.) Puree until slightly smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the vanilla-cream mixture and process more. Add the salt, pepper, and brown sugar until it is as sweet as you want it then blend/process until completely smooth. Scrape it out and eat the hell out of it! You can also make it a day ahead of time and refrigerate it. It reheats REALLY well so if you are planning on doing this for Thanksgiving, like me, do it the night before and save yourself the headache.