Looking For Not so Sweet Sweet Potato Recipes.
December 20, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Help needed with sweet potato side dish recipes

We are going to the in-Laws on Christmas day for lunch, my MIL is doing a lovely baked ham and asked me to bring some side dishes, which I am more than happy to do but as I am cooking a full on 3 course roast dinner Christmas eve for my family I would like to simplify things as much as possible.

I am looking for super simple sweet potato dishes that are not super sweet with added sugars and marshmallows and the like, but that wouldn't strange for very old fashioned Mid Western tastes. The one time I tried serving them sweet potatoes done simply cut up and roasted in the oven they thought it was weird, so I am guessing some sort of casserole.

Something that could be made a day or 2 a head and reheated would also be great, or with left over roasted sweet potato from the night before even better.

Bonus Question: Is it possible to keep a basic homemade yeast bread dough in the fridge for a day or 2 before use so I can just knock out some fresh dinner rolls in the morning before we go?
posted by wwax to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Not a real recipe here, but I bet baked ham would go well with mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cream cheese. Add a little bit of cheese on top (of any kind that will brown in the oven) for an extra yummy look.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have I got a recipe for you!

I just made this sweet potato gratin and it was incredibly delicious - all who partook praised it.

It says to use a mandoline - I just slice the potatoes as thin as I could.

I would sub in half and half for heavy cream. Also, double the garlic and the thyme. Use no more cheese than it recommends - you will think that you need more cheese but then it will just get oily and you will have to use a paper towel to wick away some of the excess. I used 1/2 gruyere and 1/2 swiss since gruyere is pretty strong.

Also, you might want to double the recipe if you're feeding more than 4 or 5.

But man, is it good!

(I'm working on a vegan version - this was my "fall off the vegan wagon" holiday moment.)
posted by Frowner at 9:56 AM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

I love oven baked sweet potato fries. I just toss them with some olive oil and smoked paprika and roast. I did see your comment that they thought roasted sweet potatoes were weird, but maybe if you call them fries they will be able to accept them?

I also like simple baked sweet potatoes. Just wrap them in foil and bake at 350 or so until they are soft. You could have a few different topping options, salt, various spices, brown sugar (for those who insist on making their sweet potatoes sickeningly sweet).

Other than that I am having a hard time of thinking of something that would be acceptable to people who think that roasted sweet potatoes are weird.

As for the dough, yes, you shouldn't have any problems refrigerating it and it will probably improve the flavor of the bread . I would suggest putting it in after kneading - it will rise some in the refrigerator and then pull it out of the refrigerator several hours before you want to bake to allow it to warm up and rise some more.
posted by nolnacs at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, you can assemble the dry gratin in advance and pour the liquid over it right prior to baking.

I made mine the night before and reheated it, and it was fine.
posted by Frowner at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2012

This is a hard game for you to win. All of the traditional and holiday ways of serving sweet potatoes in the Midwest *are* with added sugar, so anything else is going to seem weird for your audience. Like... spaghetti tacos weird.

This can be made ahead of time and reheated, and you need to start with cooked sweet potato, so roasted from the night before is perfect: Candied Sweet Potatoes.
posted by Andrhia at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have made this sweet potato casserole the last two Thanksgivings to rave reviews. You could cut out some of the sugar in the recipe (it calls for 1/2 cup of white sugar, probably most if not all of that could be eliminated without harming the flavor) but do keep all of the brown sugar for caramelizing the topping.

for what it's worth, I am the daughter of a Midwestern farmer, and my family would not find this recipe strange
posted by jabes at 10:05 AM on December 20, 2012

The traditional sweet potato dish for Christmas in my family is as follows:

In a shallow casserole dish:
Layer of sliced sweet potato (cooked)
Layer of peeled, sliced apple (uncooked)
a few dabs of butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar, a bit of cinnamon sprinkled about

Repeat for two or three layers, depending on how deep your dish is/ how many you have to feed. Bake covered at 400 degrees until the apples are cooked.

I add maybe 1tsp of brown sugar per layer. This works well with canned sweet potatoes, which makes it significantly quicker to whip up. I make it the day before so it just needs to be warmed up before we eat it.
posted by torisaur at 10:06 AM on December 20, 2012

A couple Christmases ago I made a sweet potato gratin with gruyere and thyme very similar to the one Frowner links to -- extremely delicious, and not sweet.
posted by Jeanne at 10:16 AM on December 20, 2012

Re: the bread dough: yes! this is possible and, in fact, the bread will be even tastier for it. Just add less active dry yeast than normal (I would add about 1/4tsp for a loaf-sized recipe) The yeast will multiply on its own and the bread will just rise much more slowly. The longer, slower fermentation makes it more flavourful.
posted by torisaur at 10:24 AM on December 20, 2012

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries and Apples. Beautiful, easy, delicious.

Serves: 8
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
3/4 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes in a large baking dish. Top with diced apples, cranberries, and raisins. Pour orange juice over all. Cover tightly with lid or foil.

Bake for 1 & 1/4 hours or until sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
posted by bearwife at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2012

I'm with nolnacs - oven baked sweet potato chips are my choice! If you're having trouble convincing traditionalists of how awesome these can be, try this:

Cut sweet potatoes up into wedges, toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Roast till brown.

Offer with a selection of mayonnaises - plain, mixed with chipotle chile powder, mixed with curry, or mixed with Moroccan spices (cumin, ginger, coriander, cayenne, allspice and cloves)

When eaten plain, the cinnamon laced sweet potatoes will evoke "tradition", but will still blend beautifully with mexican, indian and moroccan flavours.
posted by LN at 10:58 AM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Fiery Sweet Potatoes from the New York Times. I'm a big fan of sweet potatoes, cooked all kinds of ways, and I think this might be the tastiest way I've ever encountered. Despite the name, they're not really fiery, they just have enough heat to be warming. And the sprinkling of brown sugar on top adds a traditional note. A delicious traditional note.
posted by quietshout at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

These sweet potato latkes are incredible and make an excellent side-dish:
posted by OnTheWing at 11:31 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's what I always do -- super duper easy, just takes a while with the baking:

1. Wash your sweet potatoes, however many you think it will take to feed your group. Doesn't matter. Put them all together, clean and wet, wrapped up in one big sturdy foil package, in the oven. The residual water will help them cook evenly.

2. Bake them in that oven for a long time. Around 400 degrees, a little more or less doesn't matter, but for a long time. until they are limp and squishy. The longer the better. Not less than 1.5 hours, and as long as 2.5 if they are really big.

3. Take out the package , leave them alone til they are handle-able, and pull the peels off.

4. Mash them up in a bowl, seasoned with orange juice concentrate (or lemon juice is fine too. Try lime, why not?-), nutmeg, vanilla (yes!), and salt.

This is unbelievably good and can certainly be done in advance. It is quite sweet although there is no added sugar, only the deep natural sweetness of the yams. The key part is the looong baking and the balancing of the sweetness with acid, salt, and additional depth from the nutmeg. Don't attempt to shortcut this in the microwave, it won't be worth eating.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2012

Some of these may fall in the "too weird" category, but there are lots of good-sounding ideas.

As far as rolls, my mom always bakes them ahead of time, them takes out to defrost a few hours ahead. She just warms them right before serving.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2012

I'm with fingersandtoes.

My personal bachelor-style method is to bake, smash, stir in salt and enormous quantities of butter, and serve. Can be refrigerated and reheated as needed. Sweet potatoes are like a good cut of steak: the less you do to them, the better.

It's dirt-simple, and who doesn't like buttery mashed sweet potatoes?
posted by daveliepmann at 11:46 AM on December 20, 2012

I basically do what fingersandtoes does, only at the end I mash with just a truckload of butter and some cinnamon. The cinnamon brings out the natural sweetness without adding sugar; it's delicious, not cloying. In a hurry, I will boil and mash, with the same amount of butter and cinnamon. You could also use gingerbread or speculaas spice, I've used the latter and it's great.
posted by looli at 11:56 AM on December 20, 2012

I grew up in the Midwest, but we always had savory - mashed sweet potatoes with butter. Thanks, Mom. You could roast sweet potato chunks in olive oil, or bacon drippings if you're up for it, and add bacon or pancetta. I take out the bacon and slice across the slices; it cooks easier and it's already crumbled when done. Fry gently till it's getting done, then add during the last 15 minutes of roasting veg. so you don't have to worry about the bacon & veg both getting done. If you want it sweet, add candied bacon after it's cooked instead. Lots of work, but candied bacon is awesome. If marshmallows are necessary, put your roasted sweet potatoes in a shallow dish, top with marshmallows or fluff and put under the broiler until the marshmallows are toasted. Sweet topping on salty/savory food is good.

If you roast vegetables, try some brussel sprouts, too, with bacon. Now I have to go roast some vegetables.
posted by theora55 at 11:59 AM on December 20, 2012

I mash them with a bit of grated orange peel and then put on some melted butter and maple syrup. Then bake them for 20 minutes or so. That is sweet though.

One year I made sweet potato curry, which I thought was delicious but no one else would eat it. So don't make that.
posted by interplanetjanet at 12:05 PM on December 20, 2012

Hasselback sweet potatoes.

For Thanksgiving this year I made some with a maple syrup and lime glaze.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 12:22 PM on December 20, 2012

I really like the minimal sweet potato filling for these ravioli served pasta-less.
posted by thirdletter at 12:45 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mom makes these burger-sized patties out of sweet potato, wild rice and quinoa, and they are incredible. I'm sure they might have some other stuff in them, but I don't think much.
posted by mean cheez at 1:27 PM on December 20, 2012

This: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Apricots and Bourbon. I usually cut back on the brown sugar a bit. It's very rich, but oh so good.
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:20 PM on December 20, 2012

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