A typical holiday feast around here is a rather colorful affair. Lots of browns, yellows, reds, and greens.
And then there is orange. I can't remember a Thanksgiving without a vibrant dish of garnet yams (a.k.a. sweet potatoes).
Usually we just mash them up with some brown sugar and spices. But a few years ago, we tried out this recipe from Bon Appetit and loved it!
We've since adjusted the recipe a bit, removing the flour from the topping and replacing it with ground pecans for our gluten-intolerant family members.
I've also added a little orange zest to add a little balance to the sweetness of the dish. You could also add a dash of lemon juice for the same purpose.
Smothering sweet potatoes this way, in brown sugar and maple syrup, almost turns this dish into a dessert—not for everyday perhaps, but just the thing for a holiday treat.
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Topping
Put the salted water onto boil while you prep the ingredients.
- 3 pounds red-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rounds
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (divided 2 Tbsp and 4 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, divided (3/4 cup and 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Cook the sweet potatoes:
Heat a large pot of salted water (add a tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of water) until boiling. Add the sweet potato rounds. Cook until the water starts to simmer again, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, then rinse in cold water.
Layer sweet potato rounds in baking dish, with butter, zest, maple syrup:
Butter a baking dish. Arrange the sweet potato rounds in the baking dish, overlapping the pieces, layering the yam rounds to fill up the dish.
Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle the yam rounds with orange zest if using. Pour maple syrup over sweet potatoes. Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter.
Bake 20 min:
Cover with aluminum foil and bake until sweet potatoes are almost tender, about 20 minutes.
Make pecan topping:
While the sweet potatoes are baking put 3/4 cup pecans in a blender or spice grinder and grind into a coarse meal. Coarsely chop the other 3/4 cup of pecans.
Mix the ground pecans and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix in the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped pecans.
Sprinkle topping over casserole, bake 15 min more:
Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, until the topping browns, about 15 minutes.