Part 2: Elevate those Sides for Thanksgiving– Better Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato with Pecans

Want to do something other than the same ol’ marshmallow sweet potatoes you do every year? Well, here’s a little something I made last year and since it was such a hit, I’m doing it again this year. My secret? Booze! FYI, I’m adding a link to another booze-free recipe at the bottom, that one looks divine and also uses my other secret ingredient.

Boozed-Up Sweet Potatoes

I’m not one for cheap liquor so I actually made this with Maker’s Mark last year. Sure, everyone thought I was crazy but no one complained once they tried my boozed up sweet potatoes.

What You’re Going to Need

  • 6-8 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 16 oz. pecan pieces (or halved or whole)
  • 2 ripe bananas (the secret ingredient)
  • 1/4 cup half n’ half, cream or whole milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, dry and pierce your sweet potatoes a few times with a fork. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, place your two bananas, peels on, in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet. Make sure to use foil since baked banana ooze can make a mess! If your potatoes need turning at this time, turn them. Continue baking until they can be poked with a fork or feel slightly mushy when you grab them with tongs (approx. 45-55 minutes). You want to remove them just a tad before they’d be ready to eat as-is.
LEAVE THE OVEN ON, you’re going to use it again!

Cool sweet potatoes and bananas on rack for about 15-20 minutes.

Assemble the booze and spice concoction

A medium saucepan with a thick bottom works best. Heat 1 stick butter on medium low heat and whisk in about ¼ cup of quality bourbon. Add orange zest, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Heat until butter is melted and ingredients are well combined (about 5 minutes).
While you’re doing this, you can also toast those pecan pieces in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Should take just a couple of minutes. Your nose is going to do the work here since pecans are dark and their color won’t tell you much. They’ll get shinier as they toast.

Once your sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, you can start assembling the dish.

To assemble:

Mash the sweet potatoes with a masher or a fork. Don’t pulverize them since you want a few chunks in there. Stir in the booze concoction and slowly stir in the half n’ half or whole milk. Once all those ingredients are combined, slice up those ripe bananas. Fold them into the sweet potato mix. I know it sounds weird but they’re pretty fab with bourbon and sweet potatoes and totally take this dish to a whole other level.

Now take about half of those toasted pecans and fold them into the dish. Pour into a 9 x 13 or 15 x 15 buttered glass baking dish. Smooth out the mixture do it’s nice and level and top with ½ cup dark brown sugar and the rest of the pecans. You can also toss that last batch of pecans in a little butter and throw them into the brown sugar before you toss that combined mixture on top of the sweet potatoes. Your choice! Return to the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Again, the smell of booze-laden sweet potatoes is what’s going to tell you it’s ready. Just be sure to let this sit for about a good 10-15 minutes before serving ‘cause it’s hot, hot, hot!

Here’s another recipe for Sweet Potatoes with bananas, cream and brown sugar but sans the bourbon. Looks delish and gets rave reviews. On
Epicurious here.

Happy Eating and Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

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