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~ Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes ~

PICT2476 Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large, edible root (which belongs to the morning-glory family) is native to the tropical regions of the Americas.  There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" (the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato).  The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh.  Its flavor is not sweet, and after being cooked, the pale sweet potato is dry and crumbly, similar to that of a Russet potato.  The darker variety has a thicker, dark orange skin and vivid orange, sweet flesh.  When cooked, it has a very sweet flavor and a creamy texture.  The dark-skinned, orange-colored variety is the only kind I use in my recipes.

When buying sweet potatoes, choose firm ones with no cracks or bruises.  Because I am usually planning on baking them, I like to choose even-sized ones so they will all cook in the same amount of time.  They should not be stored in the refrigerator, but they need to be stored in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.  If the temperature goes above 60 degrees, they'll begin to sprout, get woody and/or shrivel.  Cooked sweet potatoes, if stored in the refrigerator last for about a week.  Like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are always eaten cooked.

You can cook sweet potatoes by all of the same methods you cook a potato... bake, boil, fry, grill, roast, microwave and even deep-fry.  I am a lover of this extremely healthy superfood, and as the Thanksgiving season approaches, I will be posting all sorts of sweet potato recipes, including the most amazing sweet potato pie, which you are surely to love!  The following recipe for my ~ Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes ~ is a great "change of pace", as well as a colorful, flavorful, highly-nutritious alternative to mashed potatoes.  I serve these often to accompany roast chicken, turkey or pork for any occasion.  I especially like to serve them as an accompaniment to my recipe for ~ Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast w/Apple Pan Gravy ~ found in Categories 3, 12 & 19.  What a great dish to start the Fall season with... warm, comforting, sweet & absolutely delicious! 

Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes #2 (Ingredients)













6-8  cups, fully-cooked and smashed sweet potato flesh, from 6-8 large, even-sized, orange, sweet potatoes

4-6  ounces butter, at room temperature

4-6  tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4-1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg, more or less, to taste

1/2-3/4  teaspoons sea salt, more or less, to taste

1/2-3/4  teaspoons white pepper, more or less, to taste

1-1 1/2  cups heavy or whipping cream, at room temperature

Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes #3 (In Microwave) ~ Step 1.  How you come up with your 6-8 cups of smashed sweet potatoes is entirely up to you, but by far, the best method is by baking them conventionally or microwaving them, until they're ever-so-slighly undercooked.  Boiling tends to make them mushy, in which case you'll be serving mashed sweet potatoes!  I have 8 potatoes in my microwave.  They'll be done in about 20-25 minutes...

Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes #4 (Potatoes out of Microwave) ~ Step 2.  ... Before putting them in the microwave prick each potato in several spots using the tip of a paring knife or the tines of a fork.  This will insure even cooking and help the steam escape, which will keep them from exploding in the microwave.  Yes, I said exploding!  Remove the entire tray from the  microwave.  While potatoes are hot:


Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes #5 (Slice & Scoop) ~ Step 3.  Slice potatoes in half and scoop out the soft centers, placing them in a large mixing bowl as you work.  Discard or compost the jackets.  When you are done you will have at least 6-8 cups of loosely-packed, soft, sweet, creamy sweet potato flesh just waiting to be seasoned and smashed together!

Sweet potatoes vary in size.  You bought the largest potatoes in your store, but that doesn't mean they're as large as the ones I used, so: 

~ Step 4.  Start by adding about 3/4 of the amount of each additional ingredient on the list.  Using a hand-held potato masher or just a table fork, begin smashing the potatoes until you get the texture and consistency you want, tasting often until the potatoes taste exactly the way you want them to! PICT2459

Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes:  Recipe yields 6-8 cups of potatoes or about 8-12 side servings, depending upon the size of the portions being served.

Special Equipment List:  paring knife or table fork; tablespoon; hand-held vegetable masher

Cook's Note:  These potatoes can be made several hours and 1-2 days in advance of serving.  Cover with plastic wrap and reheat in the microwave.  Refrigerate if preparing them 1-2 days in advance of serving.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)


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