There are certain vegetables that I bring home and have a stare off with for a while before cooking them. I think sweet potatoes tops the list, partly because they will last forever, so the staring contest can go on for quite some time. And partly because they have eyes. Oh, yes, you are right, I am so funny.
It’s really because while I love them simply mashed with some butter and milk, and not much else, that can feel boring. We never seem to get tired of plain regular mashed potatoes, but for whatever reason sweet potatoes seem to be clamoring for change (this is me projecting my feelings onto a sweet potato).
Also, because of the naturally slightly sweet nature of these potatoes, the tendency is to go for seasonings and flavors that underscore or amplify the sweetness. But then that gets expected as well. Anyway, in my quest for different, for savory, and for not a lot of extra thinking, I picked roasted garlic as the newest uncomplicated addition. I’m fairly certain this is going to wiggle its way into the regular rotation.
There are a lot of types of sweet potatoes, and if you are a sweet potato fan, have at it, and get to know the different kinds. Here is a thoughtful description of all of the types (or at least 16 of them). The exteriors and the interiors range considerably in color. Mostly commonly you will find various shades of white, tan, and all sorts of orange hues.
In this recipe I tested with an organic sweet potato with a very pale cream interior (kind of the color of Yukon golds). I do think next time I might look for orange sweet potatoes, since I am really a sucker for the color and it makes a holiday table feel like a holiday table to me.
Oh, and the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? That I’ve read about so many times, and still can’t quite cement into my brain? And which, by the way, people actually don’t seem to agree on? (Are all sweet potatoes yams? Yes, no, maybe?) Ugh, I have to get back to this another day.
Meanwhile, hello something new on the Thanksgiving table, or in my case, making an earlier debut on the Rosh Hashana table. If you haven’t ever tried making roasted garlic, just do that today. Stupidly, stupidly easy. And such a simple way to change up the flavor of everything from a crostini topping to a sauce to a chicken dish.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, allow the water to return to a simmer. Adjust the heat so the water remains at a simmer and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and either return them to the pot with the garlic and mash with an immersion blender or a potato masher, or put the potatoes through a ricer or a food mill with the garlic, doing this so the riced potatoes fall back into the pot. Add the olive oil, butter, milk, salt, and pepper and stir to thoroughly combine. Serve hot.
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