Tue Nov 22, 2011
Mashed potatoes are always on our Thanksgiving table—my sister could have it no other way. Through her life, she's be a die-hard lover of smashed spuds, which brought an extra sense of accomplishment when she deemed my mashers the best ever at our last Thanksgiving dinner. That beacon of pride has stuck with me, but at the same time left me questioning, if I've created the best in the my sister's eyes, where do I go from here? Easy answer, mashed sweet potatoes!
Oh, the holiday yam, what a delightful treat. Sweet potatoes form the backbone of my side dishes all winter—there's something so comforting in their hearty sweetness that is perfect for the colder months. They get their rightful place on the Thanksgiving table as the weather often starts to take on the first real cold here in the Northeast.
When considering how the start my journey to mashed sweet potatoes that can rival my regular ones, I first thought how great ashy yam turds are—for the uninitiated, that's sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and roasted in the coals.
This method of cooking sweet potatoes is not only is incredibly easy, it results in an excellent end product.
The innards become silky smooth, with a velvety texture that's like heaven in a spud. Seeing as this has been the Meatwave gold standard for sweet potatoes for years, it seemed like the best way to get them into proper form to then turn them into mashers.
Once the flesh of the cooked potatoes was scooped out into a saucepan, I continued with my normal mashed recipe, which starts with the addition of butter. Then I added brown sugar for a little extra sweetness, followed by just enough warm half-and-half to get it to the desired smooth and creamy texture. A little salt and pepper to taste, and they were done.
While the roasting of the sweet potatoes really left no need to "mash" them, I'm still labeling these a great achievement in mashed potatoes. They weren't quite what my sister raved about at Thanksgiving a year ago, but they're really their own beast and comparison may not be apt. These mashers were incredibly rich with a hefty sweetness that was kept safely below the sickening sweet point. In caution to not interrupt holiday tradition, I'm sticking with regular mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving this year—and probably every year—but this sweet potato variety is sure to find a place in my winter diet.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Prep Time:
- 5 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 1 Hour
- Total Time:
- 1 Hour 5 Minutes
- Serves 4
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half, warmed
- Kosher salt
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and set in coals. Using tongs, move any loose coals around or on top of potatoes. Roast sweet potatoes until they are completely soft and a paring knife can be inserted with no resistance, 40-60 minutes, turning four times during cooking to ensure even roasting. Remove potatoes from coals and let sit until cool enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Unwrap potatoes and split in half. Using spoon, scoop out flesh into small sauce pan. Mix in melted butter and brown sugar. Add half-and-half 1/4 cup at a time until potatoes are at a desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.