Sunday, December 2

Bourbon-Walnut Sweet Potato Mash

I have this thing that happens when people say they don't like a particular kind of food. I take it as a challenge. I'm convinced that it's not the ingredient's fault so much as it is the preparations the person has had, that have made him decide he doesn't like a certain food. For once, I'm not talking about my better half. In fact, this time I'm talking about another member of my family, who claims that she's not a big fan of sweet potatoes. Now, she started to become a convert a couple of years ago when Alison first made her sweet potato cheesecake, but still, I wanted to convert her to a side dish she'd like. Her biggest complaint? Too cloying. How to fix this? Less sugar, more flavor.

So it was with some excitement that I stumbled across the following recipe in the pages of Bon Appétit's Thanksgiving issue.

Bourbon-Walnut Sweet Potato Mash

4 lbs red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup (scant) maple syrup
3 Tbsp bourbon
1 1/2 tsp ground cinammon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until course puree forms.
Heat cream and butter in a small pan over low heat until butter melts. Gradually stir hot mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle nuts over top and serve.

The result? Sweet Potato convert. This recipe is fabulous because it has kick and flavor without being overly sweet. Also, it smells like pumpkin pie and the walnuts set off the bourbon and maple syrup perfectly. I made these a day ahead without adding the walnuts, then reheated and added the nuts at the last minute.

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