It’s Thanksgiving week on Back to the Cutting Board, which means you get not one recipe like usual, but a ton of yummy Thanksgiving recipes over the next 4 days! This was all brought by the people at SpringPad who invited me to participate in their Springsgiving Event. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to come up with a Thanksgiving menu consisting of five dishes: appetizer, turkey dish, two sides and a dessert. I didn’t get too much advance notice, so I immediately sprung (ohh, bad pun) into action coming up with a pre-thanksgiving meal last week. The thing is, I couldn’t decide on just 5 things, so we actually wound up eating about 3 days of Thanksgiving last week trying out different recipes (I love being a food blogger). I ultimately did decide on the five things I wanted to submit to the contest, but I wound up enjoying pretty much all the dishes I picked, so I will be posting all of them here this week.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets get on with the recipes! I love sweet potatoes. And what is Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes? A Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes is not one I would want to be part of. So today’s post is dedicated entirely to the sweet potato.
I want to mention up front that there will no be sweet potato casseroles, ok? I love sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and I will certainly be serving it next Thursday, but do I really need to post a recipe for it? No, because everyone and their grandmother has their own recipe (you probably even have your grandmother’s recipe) and you won’t be swayed to try my version (my mother’s, of course) because you love your version so much. Amiright? Yeah, thought so. Moving on.
I had a hard time coming up with an appetizer for this contest because, really, who eats appetizers on Thanksgiving? In my house Thanksgiving is always buffet style. Put out a crapload of food and everyone gets what they want. Why would you even want to take up room in your stomach with an appetizer? But you gotta follow the rules, so I thought, what’s a normal appetizer? I don’t eat appetizers too much at restaurants (would rather save room for dessert!), so the first thing that came to mind was soup or salad. Salads are boring so that left soup. Luckily, a few weeks before I had made a Sweet Potato Soup that turned out very good so I finally decided on that.
This soup is really easy to make, relatively healthy and it’s quite appropriate not only for Thanksgiving, but especially for after Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re tired of your grandmother’s sweet potato casserole but you still want to have a sweet potato dish? This is great substitute. Or maybe you just can’t pass up making that sweet potato casserole (it’s tradition, after all), but then you have tons leftover. Guess what? You can use those leftovers to make this soup! I will most certainly be doing that this year. I found this recipe online and adapted it to my tastes. Most of the reviewers said it was bland and wasn’t very sweet, so I made sure to remedy that. What would be the point a sweet potato soup that wasn’t sweet? That’s just nonsensical.
Next up is Sweet Potato Rolls, which didn’t quite make the cut as far the contest, but they are still my new favorite rolls! Do they taste like sweet potatoes? No, not really. Have you ever had potato rolls? They pretty much taste like that except they’re much prettier and a bit sweeter (though not anywhere near as sweet as I thought they would be). The only problem I had (and the main reason I didn’t submit this recipe to the contest) is that they were a little hard to make. If you’ve made rolls before, you should have no problem making these, but this recipe has the softest, stickiest dough I’ve ever worked with. And that’s after I added about 2 more cups of flour than the recipe called for. These rolls still turned out really well and they are soft and moist as all get out, but kneading and shaping them was a pain. Still, I think they are worth it and I will making them again next week. They are fast to make (you can get by with about 2 hours of rising time), but I also think you should be able to start them the night before and let the dough rise slowly in the fridge.
The final sweet potato recipe is one that I’ve already posted here, but I couldn’t have a post devoted to sweet potatoes without including it? It is my Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes which I just had again last night and I still love, although I decided I need to modify the recipe a bit (it’s not sweet enough!). This also would be a good alternative if you want to do something different from the standard casserole or mashed potatoes. And like the soup, it lends itself well to using leftovers.
Stayed tuned tomorrow for the main event: Turkey and all the fixins’!
Sweet Potato Soup
Soup | Servings: 4
Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 45 min
If you’re using leftover sweet potato casserole, you should omit or lessen the amount of sugar and spices you add depending on how much is already in your casserole. This recipe is very easy to adjust to your taste, so after you add the sweet potatoes, just keep tasting it until it has the right amount of sweetness and spice.
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
- 1/8 tsp. ginger (increase to 1/4 tsp. if you really love ginger, but I thought 1/4 tsp. was overpowering)
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup skim milk*
- 1/2 cup half and half*
*Note: You can use any kind of milk, but I would reduce the half and half the creamier it gets, ie use 1 cup whole and no half and half or 3/4 cup 2% and 1/4 cup half and half. In the end you should have one cup of milk in whatever combination you like, but this soup is better the creamier it is.
- Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the flour and butter, stirring constantly until roux achieves a light caramel color, 5-10 minutes.
- Add the broth and brown sugar, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
- Stir in the sweet potatoes, syrup and spices, bring to a simmer again and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Puree the soup in a blender and return to pot. Add the milk and reheat soup to desired temperature. Serve.
Sweet Potato Rolls
Bread | Servings: 16-20 rolls
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 1 hour 50 min
- 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) RapidRise yeast (you can use normal active dry yeast, but this is much faster)
- 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 4 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh, cooked and pureed sweet potatoes or canned sweet potato puree (I used fresh)
- 3 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 5 cups flour, or however much you need (I stopped at about 5, but wound up incorporating more when I was kneading)
- Dissolve yeast, warm water, and 1 tbsp. white sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Add remaining sugar, sweet potato, butter, salt, and eggs. Mix well. I used my stand mixer, because I think it’s easier to mix bread in it, but you can still make this without a mixer.
- Add in 4-5 cups of flour. The goal should be to get it form into a ball, but that never really happened for me. I stopped at 5 cups of flour and switched to the dough hook of my mixer and mixed for a few minutes to get it smooth. Turn out on a very floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. If you mixed with a dough hook you shouldn’t need to do this for too long/at all. The goal is to get smooth dough. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the surface. Cover and let rise about 1 hour or longer (shouldn’t need more than an hour with the RapidRise yeast, but if you have time to let it sit longer, that’s better because it will develop more flavor). Alternately, you should be able to make these the night before and let them rise slowly in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge the next day and let stand for an hour before proceeding.
- Punch down, and allow dough to rest for 2 minutes. Divide into 16 to 20 balls (it was still sticky, so I had to make sure my hands were covered in flour the whole time), and place on a greased cookie sheet or in a 9×13 inch pan. Allow to rise until doubled.
- Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 12 to 20 minutes (depends on how big you made them). Serve warm, topped with butter.
Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Side Dish | Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 40 min
- 4 to 5 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
- 1 cup brown sugar*
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. maple extract**
*These potatoes are pretty sweet because that’s how I like them, but if you don’t have big sweet tooth you may want to start with 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup of brown sugar instead of a full cup. At the end, taste the potatoes and stir in a more sugar if necessary.
**This is optional, but the maple extract really pumps up the maple flavor. Vanilla or orange extract also work well.
- Peel and cut up sweet potatoes in large chunks. Place in pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and stir. Heat to boiling and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
- While the potatoes are boiling, melt the butter, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup, cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until it thickens a little. Set aside.
- Once the potatoes are tender, drain all the liquid and return them to the pot. Mash with a potato masher.
- Slowly pour in the sugar mixture, a little at a time and stir/mash after each addition. You may not need to use all of the sugar mixture, add enough until it gets to a consistency that you like. Stir in maple extract.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. Warm up over medium-low heat or in the microwave.