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Sunday, December 05, 2010
Savory Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Crumb Topping
This is an easy recipe I came up with when trying to do something different with sweet potatoes for thanksgiving.
Quantities of everything are pretty much to your taste. Mine served 12 people, but it was in the context of a thanksgiving feast where the table was groaning from the load of delicious foods.
5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed. (approx 4-5 pounds)
Reserved sweet potato peels (try to get a good number of long, reasonably straight peel pieces, as you are going to cook these.)
1/2 pound thin sliced good quality bacon
Two medium sized shallots
Heavy cream or half and half
Scrub the potatoes well before peeling as you are going to use the peels in the crumb topping. Boil cubed sweet potatoes until they are a good consistency to mash.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon. Cook it nice and crisp, then place on paper towels to drain. Reserve the bacon fat.
Place a layer of potato skins into the bacon fat and cook until crisp, turning halfway through. Drain on paper towel with bacon. Do this two more times for three pansful of crispy potato skins.
Slice shallots very thin and cook in bacon fat until just crisp, being careful not to burn. Drain on paper towel with bacon and skins.
Place the bacon, the potato skins, and the shallots into a bowl and crumble together with your hands or a pestle. Set aside.
Mash the sweet potatoes using a hand masher, a ricer, or a mixer, to your preferred consistency. Add cream or half and half to taste. Add sea salt, ginger, and honey to taste. Since sweet potatoes vary greatly in sweetness depending on variety and season, you really have to taste them to get them flavored the right way. You want a nice hint of sweet and salt without it being overpoweringly sweet. We're not making candied yams here!
Spread the potatoes in a deep casserole dish or baker. Sprinkle crumbled mixture on top.
You may now reserve the dish for as long as you need to, I made mine the morning of thanksgiving and baked it uncovered for about 20 minutes before mealtime. It was delicious.