sweet potato side dish recipe

Honey and Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Honey and Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

I will admit it – I am not a fan of really sweet,  sweet potato dishes. Not unless it is a dessert. My Mom never served sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but they were still served “candied”. Sweet potatoes, sometimes canned, cooked in a glaze of brown sugar and butter. It was just what we did.

Then, one year,  I grew my own sweet potatoes. Everything changed after that. I can still remember the joy of digging that first plant up.  There they were, a cluster of beautiful sweet potatoes. I grew a lot of them that first year. I steamed them, baked them, made soup with them. Even had them for breakfast a few times.

My Mom was so pleased when I told her I was supplying them for her Thanksgiving dinner that year. I suggested we just cook them with a little butter, salt and pepper. They were so naturally sweet, that they surely, did not need to be candied.

Not everyone was so pleased with that choice. Clearly, how to prepare sweet potatoes evokes some of the same passion as how to cook the turkey. So for awhile, there were two competing dishes of sweet potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. As if there weren’t enough dishes to worry about- we now had to have 2 types of sweet potatoes.

I hope this dish might just bridge the gap between the two camps. A little sweet, but not overly sweet. The orange juice and honey enhance the sweet potatoes nicely. The sugared nuts are a fun addition, too.

Honey Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

4 T. butter
4-5 c. peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
1 c. fresh orange juice
Zest of 2 oranges
¼ c. honey
2 t. hot sauce, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh grated nutmeg
Sugared nuts- optional* recipe follows

Melt butter in large skillet. Add sweet potatoes and cook over medium heat, for 5- 8 minutes. Potatoes should start to turn a little golden. Add orange juice, honey and seasonings and turn heat down to low. Cook, uncovered,  until potatoes are tender and liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. If you want more color on the sweet potatoes, turn the heat up a little once they are tender, and liquid is mostly gone. Serve with sugared nuts sprinkled on top, if you like. These can be made a day ahead and reheated.

*Sugared Nuts

4-5 c. nuts, I like walnuts or pecans
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. orange peel
1 t. salt, optional
Place all ingredients in heavy skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until all the water disappears. Whatever liquid in the pan will be clinging to the nuts and syrupy. Dump nuts onto a large cookie sheet and break apart with a wooden spoon to prevent clumping. As nuts cool, stir once or twice to remove any remaining clumps, and to cool faster. Nuts will lose their glossy appearance and attain a sugary crust. If it looks like nut soup, you didn’t cook them long enough, and you must return all to the skillet and cook longer. As the nuts start to get drier during cooking, you can turn down the heat a little to prevent burning. Once you’ve made a few batches, though, you will get good at judging when to stop cooking. You can also make a spicy version by adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with the other ingredients. Store in cool, dry place to keep nuts fresh longer.

Sweet Potato Puffs

Sweet Potato Puffs

If you are looking for a new way to serve sweet potatoes, you might just want to try this recipe. Sweet potatoes are mashed, mixed with butter, eggs and spices, rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The end result is a delicate morsel that has a crunch on the outside- and creamy mashed sweet potatoes on the inside. They are addictive!!!

They make a great side dish, or can be served as an appetizer. While they are good hot, they maintain their crunch even after cooling down.

I first had a version of this recipe many years a go when a coworker made them and brought them to work. I recently found her original recipe, and added more seasonings to it. I love them as much now, as I did then.

The mixture, even after chilling, is soft. I placed spoonfuls of the mix in the breadcrumbs and rolled them gently into balls. The puffs are soft, even after frying, so remove carefully from the oil. You can fry up a batch in a few minutes, and serve right away. You can also cook them ahead of time, then reheat them before serving. I made my puffs into balls, but you could also flatten them a bit, more like the shape of a scallop.

This is a nice way to use up leftover cooked sweet potatoes, too.

So here is the recipe.

Sweet Potato Puffs

2 c. mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

3 T. softened butter

1 egg

3 T. chopped parsley, or 1 T. dried

½ t. salt

½ t. paprika

½ t. cumin

½ t. nutmeg

Hot sauce to taste

Dash of fresh ground pepper

Bread crumbs for rolling

Oil for frying

Combine sweet potatoes with butter and egg, stirring to mix well. Add seasonings and stir well. Chill mixture at least a couple of hours. Heat oil to 350 degrees. You should have at least a couple of inches of oil in the pan.  Shape sweet potato mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in crumbs and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve. You can make a head of time, then just warm in the oven when ready to serve. They can also be fried and frozen for later use. These make a nice side dish or even can be served as an appetizer. They are very soft, even after frying, so remove from hot oil carefully.

Crunchy outside, soft and creamy inside

Crunchy outside, soft and creamy inside

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